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6. 

HERODOTUS 
THUCYDIDES 


MORTIMER  J.  ADLBR,  Associate  Editor 

Members  of  the  Advisory  Board:  STRINGFBLLOW  BARR,  SCOTT  BUCHANAN,  JOHN  ERSKINB, 

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€K"  CK"  fw  €K* 


THE  HISTORY  OF  HERODOTUS 

* 
THE  HISTORY  OF 

THE  PELOPONNESIAN  WAR 
THUCYDIDES 


WILLIAM  BENTON,  Publisher 

ENCYCLOP/EDIA   BRITANNICA,  INC. 

CHICAGO  •  LONDON  -  TORONTO 


THE  TEXTS  OF  THE  HISTORY  OF  HERODOTUS 
AND  THUCYDIDES*  THE  HISTORY  OF  THE  PELOPONNESIAN  WAR 

IN  THIS   EDITION 

ARE  DERIVED  FROM  THE  EDITIONS  IN  EVERYMAN'S  LIBRARY 

BY  PERMISSION  OF  J.  M.  DENT  &  SONS  LTD.,  LONDON, 

AND  E.  P.  DUTTON  &  CO.  INC.,  NEW  YORK. 


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GENERAL  CONTENTS 

-  jffm 

>\Vr 


THE  HISTORY  OF  HERODOTUS,  Page  i 

Translated  by  GEORGE  RAWLINSON 

THUCYDIDES:  THE  HISTORY 
OF  THE  PELOPONNESIAN  WAR,  Page  349 

Translated  by  RICHARD  CRAWLEY 
Revised  by  R.  FEETHAM 


THE  HISTORY  OF  HERODOTUS 


BIOGRAPHICAL  NOTE 
HERODOTUS, 


HERODOTUS  was  born  about  four  years  after 
the  battle  of  Salamis  in  Halicarnassus  in  Asia 
Minor.  Although  a  Greek  colony,  the  city  had 
been  subject  to  Persia  for  some  time,  and  it 
remained  so  for  half  of  Herodotus'  life.  He 
came  from  a  Greek  family  which  enjoyed  a 
position  of  respect  in  Halicarnassus,  and  his 
uncle,  or  cousin,  Panyasis,  was  famous  in  anti- 
quity as  an  epic  poet. 

The  Persian  tyranny  made  any  free  political 
life  impossible,  and  Herodotus,  after  his  ele- 
mentary education,  appears  to  have  devoted 
himself  to  reading  and  travelling.  In  addi- 
tion to  his  unusually  thorough  knowledge  of 
Homer,  he  had  an  intimate  acquaintance  with 
the  whole  range  of  Greek  literature.  In  his 
History  he  quotes  or  shows  familiarity  with, 
among  others,  Hesiod,  Hecataeus,  Sappho, 
Solon,  Aesop,  Simonides  of  Ceos,  Aeschylus, 
and  Pindar.  Whether  or  not  the  plan  of  his 
History  governed  or  grew  out  of  his  travels  is 
not  known.  All  the  dates  of  his  travels  are 
uncertain;  it  is  thought  that  most  of  them  were 
made  between  his  twentieth  and  thirty-seventh 
year.  The  History  reveals  the  elaborateness  of 
his  observation  and  inquiry.  He  traversed  Asia 
Minor  and  European  Greece  probably  more 
than  once,  visited  all  the  most  important 
islands  of  the  Archipelago — Rhodes,  Cyprus, 
Delos,  Paros,  Thasos,  Samothrace,  Crete, 
Samos,  Cythera,  and  Aegina — ,  made  the  long 
journey  from  Sardis  to  the  Persian  capital  of 
Susa,  saw  Babylon,  Colchis,  and  the  western 
shores  of  the  Euxine  as  far  as  the  Dnieper, 
travelled  in  Scythia,  Thrace,  and  Greater 
Greece,  explored  the  antiquities  of  Tyre, 
coasted  along  the  shores  of  Palestine,  saw 
Gaza,  and  made  a  long  stay  in  Egypt. 

Apart  from  the  travels  undertaken  in  his 
professional  capacity,  political  developments 
involved  Herodotus  in  many  shifts  of  resi- 
dence. About  454  B.C.  his  relative,  Panyasis, 
was  executed  by  Lygdamis,  the  tyrant  of  Hali- 
carnassus. Herodotus  left  his  native  city  for 
Samos,  which  was  then  an  important  member 
of  the  Athenian  Confederacy.  He  was  there  for 


seven  or  eight  years  and  perhaps  took  part  ir 
the  preparations  for  the  overthrow  of  Lyg 
damis.  After  the  expulsion  of  the  tyrant,  ii 
which  the  Athenian  fleet  may  have  been  a  deci 
sive  factor,  he  returned  to  Halicarnassus 
which  then  became  a  member  of  the  Confed 
eracy.  He  remained  there  less  than  a  year.  I 
is  surmised  that  an  unfavorable  reception  t< 
parts  of  his  History  and  the  ascendency"  of  th< 
anti-Athenian  party  caused  Herodotus  to  leav< 
Halicarnassus  for  Athens. 

At  Athens,  Herodotus  seems  to  have  beer 
admitted  into  the  brilliant  Periclean  society 
He  was  particularly  intimate  with  Sophocles 
who  is  said  to  have  written  a  poem  in  hi: 
honour.  Plutarch  records  that  the  public  read 
ings  he  gave  from  his  History  won  such  ap 
proval  that  in  445  B.C.,  on  the  proposal  of  Any 
tus,  the  Athenian  people  voted  to  award  him  ; 
large  sum  of  money.  At  one  of  his  recitations 
the  story  is  told  that  the  young  Thucydides  wa: 
present  with  his  father  and  was  so  moved  thai 
he  burst  into  tears,  whereupon  Herodotus  re 
marked:  "Olorus,  your  son  has  a  natural  en 
thusiasm  for  letters." 

Despite  his  fame  in  Athens,  Herodotus  ma^ 
not  have  been  reconciled  to  his  status  as  a  for 
eigner  without  citizenship.  He  was  either  un 
willing  or  unable  to  return  to  his  native  land 
When  in  443  B.C.  Pericles  sent  out  a  colony  tc 
settle  Thurii  in  southern  Italy,  Herodotus  was 
one  of  its  members.  He  was  then  forty  yean 
old. 

From  this  point  in  his  career  Herodotus  dis 
appears  completely.  He  may  have  undertaker 
some  of  his  travels  after  this  time,  and  there  ii 
evidence  of  his  returning  to  Athens,  but  it  i« 
inconclusive.  He  was  undoubtedly  occupiec 
with  completing  and  perfecting  his  History 
He  may  also  have  composed  at  Thurii  the  spe 
cial  work  on  the  history  of  Assyria  to  which  he 
refers  and  which  Aristotle  quotes. 

From  the  indications  afforded  by  his  work  it 
is  inferred  that  he  did  not  live  later  than  425 
B.C.  Presumably  he  died  at  Thurii;  it  was  there 
that  his  tomb  was  shown  in  later  ages. 


IX 


CONTENTS 

BIOGRAPHICAL  NOTE,  p.  ix 

THE  FIRST  BOOK,  ENTITLED  CLIO,  p.  i 

THE  SECOND  BOOK,  ENTITLED  EUTERPE,  p.  49 

THE  THIRD  BOOK,  ENTITLED  THALIA,  p.  89 

THE  FOURTH  BOOK,  ENTITLED  MELPOMENE,  p.  124 

THE  FIFTH  BOOK,  ENTITLED  TERPSICHORE,  p.  160 

THE  SIXTH  BOOK,  ENTITLED  ERATO,  p.  186 

THE  SEVENTH  BOOK,  ENTITLED  POLYMNIA,  p.  214 

THE  EIGHTH  BOOK,  ENTITLED  URANIA,  p.  260 

THE  NINTH  BOOK,  ENTITLED  CALLIOPE,  p.  288 


MAPS,  p. 

I.  Babylon 
II.  Persian  Empire 

III.  Scythia 

IV.  Africa,  According  to  Herodotus 
V.  The  Region  of  the  Aegean 

VI.  Marathon 

VII.  Thermopylae 

VIII.  Salamis 

IX.  Plataea 

INDEX,  p.  325 


The  First  Book,  Entitled 
CLIO 


THESE  are  the  researches  of  Herodotus  of  Halicarnassus,  which  he  publishes, 
in  the  hope  of  thereby  preserving  from  decay  the  remembrance  of  what  men 
have  done,  and  of  preventing  the  great  and  wonderful  actions  of  the  Greeks 
and  the  Barbarians  from  losing  their  due  meed  of  glory;  and  withal  to  put  on 
record  what  were  their  grounds  of  feud. 


i.  According  to  the  Persians  best  informed  in 
history,  the  Phoenicians  began  to  quarrel.  This 
people,  who  had  formerly  dwelt  on  the  shores 
of  the  Erythraean  Sea,1  having  migrated  to  the 
Mediterranean  and  settled  in  the  parts  which 
they  now  inhabit,  began  at  once,  they  say,  to 
adventure  on  long  voyages,  freighting  their 
vessels  with  the  wares  of  Egypt  and  Assyria. 
They  landed  at  many  places  on  the  coast,  and 
among  the  rest  at  Argos,  which  was  then  pre- 
eminent above  all  the  states  included  now  un- 
der the  common  name  of  Hellas.2  Here  they 
exposed  their  merchandise,  and  traded  with 
the  natives  for  five  or  six  days;  at  the  end  of 
which  time,  when  almost  everything  was  sold, 
there  came  down  to  the  beach  a  number  of 
women,  and  among  them  the  daughter  of  the 
king,  who  was,  they  say,  agreeing  in  this  with 
the  Greeks,  lo,  the  child  of  Inachus.  The 
women  were  standing  by  the  stern  of  the  ship 
intent  upon  their  purchases,  when  the  Phoeni- 
cians, with  a  general  shout,  rushed  upon  them. 
The  greater  part  made  their  escape,  but  some 
were  seized  and  carried  off.  lo  herself  was 
among  the  captives.  The  Phoenicians  put  the 
women  on  board  their  vessel,  and  set  sail  for 

1  The  Indian  Ocean,  or  rather  both  the  Indian 
Ocean  and  the  Persian  Gulf,  which  latter  Herod- 
otus does  not  consider  distinct  from  the  Ocean, 
being  ignorant  of  its  shape. 

2  The  ancient  superiority  of  Argos  is  indicated 
by  the  position  of  Agamemnon  at  the  time  of  the 
Trojan  war  and  by  the  use  of  the  word  Argive  in 
Homer  for  Greek  generally.  No  other  name  of  a 
single  people  is  used  in  the  same  generic  way. 


Egypt.  Thus  did  lo  pass  into  Egypt,  according 
to  the  Persian  story,  which  differs  widely  from 
the  Phoenician:  and  thus  commenced,  accord- 
ing to  their  authors,  the  series  of  outrages. 

2.  At  a  later  period,  certain  Greeks,  with 
whose  name  they  are  unacquainted,  but  who 
would  probably  be  Cretans,  made  a  landing  at 
Tyre,  on  the  Phoenician  coast,  and  bore  off  the 
king's  daughter,  Europe.  In  this  they  only  re- 
taliated; but  afterwards  the  Greeks,  they  say, 
were  guilty  of  a  second  violence.  They  manned 
a  ship  of  war,  and  sailed  to  /£a,  a  city  of  Col- 
chis, on  the  river  Phasis;  from  whence,  after 
despatching  the  rest  of  the  business  on  which 
they  had  come,  they  carried  off  Medea,  the 
daughter  of  the  king  of  the  land.  The  monarch 
sent  a  herald  into  Greece  to  demand  reparation 
of  the  wrong,  and  the  restitution  of  his  child; 
but  the  Greeks  made  answer  that,  having  re- 
ceived no  reparation  of  the  wrong  done  them 
in  the  seizure  of  lo  the  Argive,  they  should 
give  none  in  this  instance. 

3.  In  the  next  generation  afterwards,  accord- 
ing to  the  same  authorities,  Alexander  the  son 
of  Priam,  bearing  these  events  in  mind,  re- 
solved to  procure  himself  a  wife  out  of  Greece 
by  violence,  fully  persuaded,  that  as  the  Greeks 
had  not  given  satisfaction  for  their  outrages,  so 
neither  would  he  be  forced  to  make  any  for 
his.  Accordingly  he  made  prize  of  Helen;  upon 
which  the  Greeks  decided  that,  before  resort- 
ing to  other  measures,  they  would  send  envoys 
to  reclaim  the  princess  and  require  reparation 
of  the  wrong.  Their  demands  were  met  by  a 
reference  to  the  violence  which  had  been  of- 


HERODOTUS 


[  BOOK  i 


fered  to  Medea,  and  they  were  asked  with 
what  face  they  could  now  require  satisfaction, 
when  they  had  formerly  rejected  all  demands 
for  either  reparation  or  restitution  addressed  to 
them. 

4.  Hitherto  the  injuries  on  either  side  had 
been  mere  acts  of  common  violence;  but  in 
what  followed  the  Persians  consider  that  the 
Greeks  were  greatly  to  blame,  since  before  any 
attack  had  been  made  on  Europe,  they  led  an 
army  into  Asia.  Now  as  for  the  carrying  off  of 
women,  it  is  the  deed,  they  say,  of  a  rogue:  but 
to  make  a  stir  about  such  as  are  carried  off, 
argues  a  man  a  fool.  Men  of  sense  care  nothing 
for  such  women,  since  it  is  plain  that  without 
their  own  consent  they  would  never  be  forced 
away.  The  Asiatics,  when  the  Greeks  ran  off 
with  their  women,  never  troubled  themselves 
about  the  matter;  but  the  Greeks,  for  the  sake 
of  a  single  Lacedaemonian  girl,  collected  a  vast 
armament,  invaded  Asia,  and  destroyed  the 
kingdom   of   Priam.   Henceforth   they   ever 
looked  upon  the  Greeks  as  their  open  enemies. 
For  Asia,  with  all  the  various  tribes  of  barbar- 
ians that  inhabit  it,  is  regarded  by  the  Persians 
as  their  own;  but  Europe  and  the  Greek  race 
they  look  on  as  distinct  and  separate. 

5.  Such  is  the  account  which  the  Persians 
give  of  these  matters.  They  trace  to  the  attack 
upon  Troy  their  ancient  enmity  towards  the 
Greeks.  The  Phoenicians,  however,  as  regards 
lo,  vary  from  the  Persian  statements.  They 
deny  that  they  used  any  violence  to  remove 
her  into  Egypt;  she  herself,  they  say,  having 
formed  an  intimacy  with  the  captain,  while  his 
vessel  lay  at  Argos,  and  perceiving  herself  to  be 
with  child,  of  her  own  free  will  accompanied 
the  Phoenicians  on  their  leaving  the  shore,  to 
escape  the  shame  of  detection  and  the  re- 
proaches of  her  parents.  Whether  this  latter  ac- 
count be  true,  or  whether  the  matter  happened 
otherwise,  I  shall  not  discuss  further.  I  shall 
proceed  at  once  to  point  out  the  person  who 
first  within  my  own  knowledge  inflicted  in- 
jury on  the  Greeks,  after  which  I  shall  go  for- 
ward with  my  history,  describing  equally  the 
greater  and  the  lesser  cities.  For  the  cities 
which  were  formerly  great  have  most  of  them 
become  insignificant;  and  such  as  are  at  pres- 
ent powerful,  were  weak  in  the  olden  time.  I 
shall  therefore  discourse  equally  of  both,  con- 
vinced that  human  happiness  never  continues 
long  in  one  stay. 

6.  Croesus,  son  of  Alyattes,  by  birth  a  Lyd- 
ian,  was  lord  of  all  the  nations  to  the  west  of 
the  river  Halys.  This  stream,  which  separates 


Syria1  from  Paphlagonia,  runs  with  a  course 
from  south  to  north,, and  finally  falls  into  the 
Euxine.  So  far  as  our  knowledge  goes,  he  was 
the  first  of  the  barbarians  who  had  dealings 
with  the  Greeks,  forcing  some  of  them  to  be- 
come his  tributaries,  and  entering  into  alliance 
with  others.  He  conquered  the  ^Eohans,  lon- 
ians,  and  Dorians  of  Asia,  and  made  a  treaty 
with  the  Lacedaemonians.  Up  to  that  time  all 
Greeks  had  been  free.  For  the  Cimmerian  at- 
tack upon  Ionia,  which  was  earlier  than  Croe- 
sus, was  not  a  conquest  of  the  cities,  but  only 
an  inroad  for  plundering. 

7.  The  sovereignty  of  Lydia,  which  had  be- 
longed to  the  Heraclides,  passed  into  the  fam- 
ily of  Croesus,  who  were  called  the  Mermnadae, 
in  the  manner  which  I  will  now  relate.  There 
was  a  certain  king  of  Sardis,  Candaules  by 
name,  whom  the  Greeks  called  Myrsilus.  He 
was  a  descendant  of  Alcaeus,  son  of  Hercules. 
The  first  king  of  this  dynasty  was  Agron,  son 
of  Ninus,  grandson  of  Belus,  and  great-grand- 
son of  Alcaeus;  Candaules,  son  of  Myrsus,  was 
the  last.  The  kings  who  reigned  before  Agron 
sprang  from  Lydus,  son  of  Atys,  from  whom 
the  people  of  the  land,  called  previously  Meon- 
ians,  received  the  name  of  Lydians.  The  Hera- 
clides, descended  from  Hercules  and  the  slave- 
girl  of  Jardanus,  having  been  entrusted  by  these 
princes  with  the  management  of  affairs,  ob- 
tained the  kingdom  by  an  oracle.  Their  rule 
endured  for  two  and  twenty  generations  of 
men,  a  space  of  five  hundred  and  five  years; 
during  the  whole  of  which  period,  from  Agron 
to  Candaules,  the  crown  descended  in  the  di- 
rect line  from  father  to  son. 

8.  Now  it  happened  that  this  Candaules  was 
in  love  with  his  own  wife;  and  not  only  so,  but 
thought  her  the  fairest  woman  in  the  whole 
world.  This  fancy  had  strange  consequences. 
There  was  in  his  bodyguard  a  man  whom  he 
specially  favoured,  Gyges,  the  son  of  Dascylus. 
All  affairs  of  greatest  moment  were  entrusted 
by  Candaules  to  this  person,  and  to  him  he  was 
wont  to  extol  the  surpassing  beauty  of  his  wife. 
So  matters  went  on  for  a  while.  At  length,  one 
day,  Candaules,  who  was  fated  to  end  ill,  thus 
addressed  his  follower:  "I  see  thou  dost  not 
credit  what  I  tell  thee  of  my  lady's  loveliness; 
but  come  now,  since  men's  ears  are  less  credu- 
lous than  their  eyes,  contrive  some  means 
whereby  thou  mayst  behold  her  naked."  At 

1  By  Syria  Herodotus  here  means  Cappadocia, 
the  inhabitants  of  which  he  calls  Syrians  (i.  72, 
and  vii.  72),  or  Cappadocian  Syrians  (Zvptovt 
Kas  i.  72). 


this  the  other  loudly  exclaimed,  saying,  "What 
most  unwise  speech  is  this,  master,  which  thou 
hast  uttered?  Wouldst  tnou  have  me  behold 
my  mistress  when  she  is  naked  ?  Bethink  thee 
that  a  woman,  with  her  clothes,  puts  off  her 
bashfulness.  Our  fathers,  in  time  past,  distin- 
guished right  and  wrong  plainly  enough,  and 
it  is  our  wisdom  to  submit  to  be  taught  by 
them.  There  is  an  old  saying,  4Let  each  look  on 
his  own.'  I  hold  thy  wife  for  the  fairest  of  all 
womankind.  Only,  I  beseech  thee,  ask  me  not 
to  do  wickedly." 

9.  Gyges  thus  endeavoured  to  decline  the 
king's  proposal,  trembling  lest  some  dreadful 
evil  should  befall  him  through  it.  But  the  king 
replied  to  him,  "Courage,  friend;  suspect  me 
not  of  the  design  to  prove  thee  by  this  dis- 
course; nor  dread  thy  mistress,  lest  mischief  be- 
fall thee  at  her  hands.  Be  sure!  will  so  manage 
that  she  shall  not  even  know  that  thou  hast 
looked  upon  her.  I  will  place  thee  behind  the 
open  door  of  the  chamber  in  which  we  sleep. 
When  I  enter  to  go  to  rest  she  will  follow  me. 
There  stands  a  chair  close  to  the  entrance,  on 
which  she  will  lay  her  clothes  one  by  one  as  she 
takes  them  off.  Thou  wilt  be  able  thus  at  thy 
leisure  to  peruse  her  person.  Then,  when  she  is 
moving  from  the  chair  toward  the  bed,  and  her 
back  is  turned  on  thee,  be  it  thy  care  that  she 
see  thee  not  as  thou  passest  through  the  door- 
way." 

10.  Gyges,  unable  to  escape,  could  but  de- 
clare his  readiness.  Then  Candaules,  when 
bedtime  came,  led  Gyges  into  his  sleeping- 
chamber,  and  a  moment  after  the  queen  fol- 
lowed. She  entered,  and  laid  her  garments  on 
the  chair,  and  Gyges  gazed  on  her.  After  a 
while  she  moved  toward  the  bed,  and  her  back 
being  then  turned,  he  glided  stealthily  from 
the  apartment.  As  he  was  passing  out,  how- 
ever, she  saw  him,  and  instantly  divining  what 
had  happened,  she  neither  screamed  as  her 
shame  impelled  her,  nor  even  appeared  to  have 
noticed  aught,  purposing  to  take  vengeance 
upon  the  husband  who  had  so  affronted  her. 
For  among  the  Lydians,  and  indeed  among 
the  barbarians  generally,  it  is  reckoned  a  deep 
disgrace,  even  to  a  man,  to  be  seen  naked. 

11.  No  sound  or  sign  of  intelligence  escaped 
her  at  the  time.  But  in  the  morning,  as  soon  as 
day  broke,  she  hastened  to  choose  from  among 
her  retinue  such  as  she  knew  to  be  most  faith- 
ful to  her,  and  preparing  them  for  what  was 
to  ensue,  summoned  Gyges  into  her  presence. 
Now  it  had  often  happened  before  that  the 
queen  had  desired  to  confer  with  him,  and  he 


1UK  Y  5 

was  accustomed  to  come  to  her  at  her  call.  He 
therefore  obeyed  the  summons,  not  suspecting 
that  she  knew  aught  of  what  had  occurred. 
Then  she  addressed  these  words  to  him:  "Take 
thy  choice,  Gyges,  of  two  courses  which  are 
open  to  thee.  Slay  Candaules,  and  thereby  be- 
come my  lord,  and  obtain  the  Lydian  throne, 
or  die  this  moment  in  his  room.  So  wilt  thou 
not  again,  obeying  all  behests  of  thy  master,  be- 
hold what  is  not  lawful  for  thee.  It  must  needs 
be  that  either  he  perish  by  whose  counsel  this 
thing  was  done,  or  thou,  who  sa  west  me  naked, 
and  so  didst  break  our  usages."  At  these  words 
Gyges  stood  awhile  in  mute  astonishment;  re- 
covering after  a  time,  he  earnestly  besought  the 
queen  that  she  would  not  compel  him  to  so 
hard  a  choice.  But  finding  he  implored  in  vain, 
and  that  necessity  was  indeed  laid  on  him  to 
kill  or  to  be  killed,  he  made  choice  of  life  for 
himself,  and  replied  by  this  inquiry:  "If  it  must 
be  so,  and  thou  compellest  me  against  my  will 
to  put  my  lord  to  death,  come,  let  me  hear  how 
thou  wilt  have  me  set  on  him."  "Let  him  be  at- 
tacked," she  answered,  "on  the  spot  where  I 
was  by  him  shown  naked  to  you,  and  let  the 
assault  be  made  when  he  is  asleep." 

12.  All  was  then  prepared  for  the  attack,  and 
when  night  fell,  Gyges,  seeing  that  he  had  no 
retreat  or  escape,  but  must  absolutely  either  slay 
Candaules,  or  himself  be  slain,  followed  his 
mistress  into  the  sleeping-room.  She  placed  a 
dagger  in  his  hand,  and  hid  him  carefully  behind 
the  self-same  door.  Then  Gyges,  when  the  king 
was  fallen  asleep, entered  privily  into  the  cham- 
ber and  struck  him  dead.  Thus  did  the  wife 
and  kingdom  of  Candaules  pass  into  the  posses- 
sion of  Gyges,  of  whom  Archilochus  the  Parian, 
who  lived  about  the  same  time,  made  mention 
in  a  poem  written  in  iambic  trimeter  verse. 

13.  Gyges  was  afterwards  confirmed  in  the 
possession  of  the  throne  by  an  answer  of  the 
Delphic  oracle.  Enraged  at  the  murder  of  their 
king,  the  people  flew  to  arms,  but  after  a  while 
the  partisans  of  Gyges  came  to  terms  with 
them,  and  it  was  agreed  that  if  the  Delphic 
oracle  declared  him  king  of  the  Lydians,  he 
should  reign;  if  otherwise,  he  should  yield  the 
throne  to  the  Heraclidcs.  As  the  oracle  was 
given  in  his  favour  he  became  king.  The  Py- 
thoness, however,  added  that,  in  the  fifth  gen- 
eration from  Gyges,  vengeance  should  come 
for  the  Heraclides;  a    prophecy   of  which 
neither  the  Lydians  nor  their  princes  took  any 
account  till  it  was  fulfilled.  Such  was  the  way 
in  which  the  Mermnadz  deposed  the  Herach- 
des,  and  themselves  obtained  the  sovereignty. 


HERODOTUS 


BOOK  i 


14.  When  Gygcs  was  established  on  the 
throne,  he  sent  no  small  presents  to  Delphi,  as 
his  many  silver  offerings  at  the  Delphic  shrine 
testify.  Besides  this  silver  he  gave  a  vast  num- 
ber of  vessels  of  gold,  among  which  the  most 
worthy  of  mention  are  the  goblets,  six  in  num- 
ber, and  weighing  altogether  thirty  talents, 
which  stand  in  the  Corinthian  treasury,  dedi- 
cated by  him.  I  call  it  the  Corinthian  treasury, 
though  in  strictness  of  speech  it  is  the  treasury 
not  of  the  whole  Corinthian  people,  but  of 
Cypselus,  son  of  Eetion.  Excepting  Midas,  son 
of  Gordias,  king  of  Phrygia,  Gyges  was  the 
first  of  the  barbarians  whom  we  know  to  have 
sent  offerings  to  Delphi.  Midas  dedicated  the 
royal  throne  whereon  he  was  accustomed  to  sit 
and  administer  justice,  an  object  well  worth 
looking  at.  It  lies  in  the  same  place  as  the  gob- 
lets presented  by  Gyges.  The  Delphians  call  the 
whole  of  the  silver  and  the  gold  which  Gyges 
dedicated,  after  the  name  of  the  donor,  Gygian. 

As  soon  as  Gyges  was  king  he  made  an  in- 
road on  Miletus  and  Smyrna,  and  took  the  city 
of  Colophon.  Afterwards,  however,  though  he 
reigned  eight  and  thirty  years,  he  did  not  per- 
form a  single  noble  exploit.  I  shall  therefore 
make  no  further  mention  of  him,  but  pass  on 
to  his  son  and  successor  in  the  kingdom,  Ardys. 

15.  Ardys  took  Priene  and  made  war  upon 
Miletus.  In  his  reign  the  Cimmerians,  driven 
from  their  homes  by  the  nomads  of  Scythia, 
entered  Asia  and  captured  Sardis,  all  but  the 
citadel.  He  reigned  forty-nine  years,  and  was 
succeeded  by  his  son,  Sadyattes,  who  reigned 
twelve  years.  At  his  death  his  son  Alyattes 
mounted  the  throne. 

1 6.  This  prince  waged  war  with  the  Medes 
under  Cyaxares,  the  grandson  of  Deioces,  drove 
the    Cimmerians    out    of    Asia,    conquered 
Smyrna,  the  Colophonian  colony,  and  invaded 
Clazomense.  From  this  last  contest  he  did  not 
come  off  as  he  could  have  wished,  but  met  with 
a  sore  defeat;  still,  however,  in  the  course  of  his 
reign,  he  performed  other  actions  very  worthy 
of  note,  of  which  I  will  now  proceed  to  give  an 
account. 

17.  Inheriting  from  his  father  a  war  with 
the  Milesians,  he  pressed  the  siege  against  the 
city  by  attacking  it  in  the  following  manner. 
When  the  harvest  was  ripe  on  the  ground  he 
marched  his  army  into  Milesia  to  the  sound  of 
pipes  and  harps,  and  flutes  masculine  and  fem- 
inine. The  buildings  that  were  scattered  over 
the  country  he  neither  pulled  down  nor  burnt, 
nor  did  he  even  tear  away  the  doors,  but  left 
them  standing  as  they  were.  He  cut  down, 


however,  and  utterly  destroyed  all  the  trees  and 
all  the  corn  throughout  the  land,  and  then  re- 
turned to  his  own  dominions.  It  was  idle  for 
his  army  to  sit  down  before  the  place,  as  the 
Milesians  were  masters  of  the  sea.  The  reason 
that  he  did  not  demolish  their  buildings  was 
that  the  inhabitants  might  be  tempted  to  use 
them  as  homesteads  from  which  to  go  forth  to 
sow  and  till  their  lands;  and  so  each  time  that 
he  invaded  the  country  he  might  find  some- 
thing to  plunder. 

1 8.  In  this  way  he  carried  on  the  war  with 
the  Milesians  for  eleven  years,  in  the  course  of 
which  he  inflicted  on  them  two  terrible  blows; 
one  in  their  own  country  in  the  district  of 
Limeneium,the  other  in  the  plain  of  the  Macan- 
der.  During  six  of  these  eleven  years,  Sadyattes, 
the  son  of  Ardys,  who  first  lighted  the  flames 
of  this  war,  was  king  of  Lydia,  and  made  the 
incursions.  Only  the  five  following  years  be- 
long to  the  reign  of  Alyattes,  son  of  Sadyattes, 
who  (as  I  said  before)  inheriting  the  war  from 
his  father,  applied  himself  to  it  unremittingly. 
The  Milesians  throughout  the  contest  received 
no  help  at  all  from  any  of  the  lonians,  except- 
ing those  of  Chios,  who  lent  them  troops  in  re- 
quital of  a  like  service  rendered  them  in  for- 
mer times,  the  Milesians  having  fought  on  the 
side  of  the  Chians  during  the  whole  of  the  war 
between  them  and  the  people  of  Erythrae. 

19.  It  was  in  the  twelfth  year  of  the  war  that 
the  following  mischance  occurred  from  the  fir- 
ing of  the  harvest-fields.  Scarcely  had  the  corn 
been  set  alight  by  the  soldiers  when  a  violent 
wind  carried  the  flames  against  the  temple  of 
Minerva  Assesia,  which  caught  fire  and  was 
burnt  to  the  ground.  At  the  time  no  one  made 
any  account  of  the  circumstance;  but  after- 
wards, on  the  return  of  the  army  to  Sardis, 
Alyattes  fell  sick.  His  illness  continued,  where- 
upon, either  advised  thereto  by  some  friend,  or 
perchance  himself  conceiving  the  idea,  he  sent 
messengers  to  Delphi  to  inquire  of  the  god  con- 
cerning his  malady.  On  their  arrival  the  Py- 
thoness declared  that  no  answer  should  be 
given  them  until  they  had  rebuilt  the  temple  of 
Minerva,  burnt  by  the  Lydians  at  Assesus  in 
Milesia. 

20.  Thus  much  I  know  from  information 
given  me  by  the  Delphians;  the  remainder  of 
the  story  the  Milesians  add. 

The  answer  made  by  the  oracle  came  to  the 
ears  of  Periander,  son  of  Cypseius,  who  was  a 
very  close  friend  to  Thrasybulus,  tyrant  of 
Miletus  at  that  period.  He  instantly  despatched 
a  messenger  to  report  the  oracle  to  him,  in  or- 


] 


THE  HISTORY 


der  that  Thrasybulus,  forewarned  of  its  tenor, 
might  the  better  adapt  his  measures  to  the  pos- 
ture of  affairs. 

21.  Alyattes,  the  moment  that  the  words  of 
the  oracle  were  reported  to  him,  sent  a  herald  to 
Miletus  in  hopes  of  concluding  a  truce  with 
Thrasybulus  and  the  Milesians  for  such  a  time 
as  was  needed  to  rebuild  the  temple.  The  herald 
went  upon  his  way;  but  meantime  Thrasybu- 
lus had  been  apprised  of  everything;  and  con- 
jecturing what  Alyattes  would  do,  he  contrived 
this  artifice.  He  had  all  the  corn  that  was  in  the 
city,  whether  belonging  to  himself  or  to  private 
persons,  brought  into  the  market-place,  and 
issued  an  order  that  the  Milesians  should  hold 
themselves  in  readiness,  and,  when  he  gave  the 
signal,  should,  one  and  all,  fall  to  drinking  and 
revelry. 

22.  The  purpose  for  which  he  gave  these  or- 
ders was  the  following.  He  hoped  that  the  Sar- 
dian  herald,  seeing  so  great  store  of  corn  upon 
the  ground,  and  all  the  city  given  up  to  festiv- 
ity, would  inform  Alyattes  of  it,  which  fell  out 
as  he  anticipated.  The  herald  observed  the 
whole,  and  when  he  had  delivered  his  message, 
went  back  to  Sardis.  This  circumstance  alone, 
as  I  gather,  brought  about  the  peace  which  en- 
sued. Alyattes,  who  had  hoped  that  there  was 
now  a  great  scarcity  of  corn  in  Miletus,  and 
that  the  people  were  worn  down  to  the  last 
pitch  of  suffering,  when  he  heard  from  the 
herald  on  his  return  from  Miletus  tidings  so 
contrary  to  those  he  had  expected,  made  a 
treaty  with  the  enemy  by  which  the  two  na- 
tions became  close  friends  and  allies.  He  then 
built  at  Assesus  two  temples  to  Minerva  in- 
stead of  one,  and  shortly  after  recovered  from 
his  malady.  Such  were  the  chief  circumstances 
of  the  war  which  Alyattes  waged  with  Thra- 
sybulus and  the  Milesians. 

23.  This  Periander,  who  apprised  Thrasybu- 
lus of  the  oracle,  was  son  of  Cypselus,  and  ty- 
rant of  Corinth.  In  his  time  a  very  wonderful 
thing  is  said  to  have  happened.  The  Corinthi- 
ans and  the  Lesbians  agree  in  their  account  of 
the  matter.  They  relate  that  Arion  of  Methym- 
na,  who  as  a  player  on  the  harp,  was  second  to 
no  man  living  at  that  time,  and  who  was,  so 
far  as  we  know,  the  first  to  invent  the  dithy- 
rambic  measure,  to  give  it  its  name,  and  to  re- 
cite in  it  at  Corinth,  was  carried  to  Taenarum 
on  the  back  of  a  dolphin. 

24.  He  had  lived  for  many  years  at  the  court 
of  Periander,  when  a  longing  came  upon  him 
to  sail  across  to  Italy  and  Sicily.  Having  made 
rich  profits  in  those  parts,  he  wanted  to  recross 


the  seas  to  Corinth.  He  therefore  hired  a  vessel, 
the  crew  of  which  were  Corinthians,  thinking 
that  there  was  no  people  in  whom  he  could 
more  safely  confide;  and,  going  on  board,  he 
set  sail  from  Tarentum.  The  sailors,  however, 
when  they  reached  the  open  sea,  formed  a  plot 
to  throw  him  overboard  and  seize  upon  his 
riches.  Discovering  their  design,  he  fell  on  his 
knees,  beseeching  them  to  spare  his  life,  and 
making  them  welcome  to  his  money.  But  they 
refused;  and  required  him  either  to  kill  him- 
self outright,  if  he  wished  for  a  grave  on  the 
dry  land,  or  without  loss  of  time  to  leap  over- 
board into  the  sea.  In  this  strait  Arion  begged 
them,  since  such  was  their  pleasure,  to  allow 
him  to  mount  upon  the  quarter-deck,  dressed 
in  his  full  costume,  and  there  to  play  and  sing, 
and  promising  that,  as  soon  as  his  song  was 
ended,  he  would  destroy  himself.  Delighted  at 
the  prospect  of  hearing  the  very  best  harper  in 
the  world,  they  consented,  and  withdrew  from 
the  stern  to  the  middle  of  the  vessel:  while 
Arion  dressed  himself  in  the  full  costume  of  his 
calling,  took  his  harp,  and  standing  on  the 
quarter-deck,  chanted  the  Orthian.  His  strain 
ended,  he  flung  himself,  fully  attired  as  he  was, 
headlong  into  the  sea.  The  Corinthians  then 
sailed  on  to  Corinth.  As  for  Arion,  a  dolphin, 
they  say,  took  him  upon  his  back  and  carried 
him  to  Taenarum,  where  he  went  ashore,  and 
thence  proceeded  to  Corinth  in  his  musician's 
dress,  and  told  all  that  had  happened  to  him. 
Periander,  however,  disbelieved  the  story,  and 
put  Anon  in  ward,  to  prevent  his  leaving  Cor- 
inth, while  he  watched  anxiously  for  the  re- 
turn of  the  mariners.  On  their  arrival  he  sum- 
moned them  before  him  and  asked  them  if 
they  could  give  him  any  tiding  of  Arion.  They 
returned  for  answer  that  he  was  alive  and  in 
good  health  in  Italy,  and  that  they  had  left  him 
at  Tarentum,  where  he  was  doing  well.  There- 
upon Arion  appeared  before  them,  just  as  he 
was  when  he  jumped  from  the  vessel:  the  men, 
astonished  and  detected  in  falsehood,  could  no 
longer  deny  their  guilt.  Such  is  the  account 
which  the  Corinthians  and  Lesbians  give;  and 
there  is  to  this  day  at  Tacnarum,  an  offering  of 
Arion's  at  the  shrine,  which  is  a  small  figure  in 
bronze,  representing  a  man  seated  upon  a 
dolphin. 

25.  Having  brought  the  war  with  the  Mile- 
sians to  a  close,  and  reigned  over  the  land  of 
Lydia  for  fifty-seven  years,  Alyattes  died.  He 
was  the  second  prince  of  his  house  who  made 
offerings  at  Delphi.  His  gifts,  which  he  sent  on 
recovering  from  his  sickness,  were  a  great 


HERODOTUS 


f  BOOK  i 


bowl  of  pure  silver,  with  a  salver  in  steel  curi- 
ously inlaid,  a  work  among  all  the  offerings  at 
Delphi  the  best  worth  looking  at.  Glaucus,  the 
Chian,  made  it,  the  man  who  first  invented  the 
art  of  inlaying  steel. 

26.  On  the  death  of  Alyattcs,  Croesus,  his 
son,  who  was  thirty-five  years  old,  succeeded  to 
the  throne.  Of  the  Greek  cities,  Ephesus  was  the 
first  that  he  attacked.  The  Ephesians,  when  he 
laid  siege  to  the  place,  made  an  offering  of 
their  city  to  Diana,  by  stretching  a  rope  from 
the  town  wall  to  the  temple  of  the  goddess, 
which  was  distant  from  the  ancient  city,  then 
besieged  by  Croesus,  a  space  of  seven  furlongs. 
They  were,  as  I  said,  the  first  Greeks  whom  he 
attacked.  Afterwards,  on  some  pretext  or  other, 
he  made  war  in  turn  upon  every  Ionian  and 
JEolian   state,   bringing  forward,  where  he 
could, a  substantial  ground  of  complaint;  where 
such  failed  him,  advancing  some  poor  excuse. 

27.  In  this  way  he  made  himself  master  of 
all  the  Greek  cities  in  Asia,  and  forced  them  to 
become  his  tributaries;  after  which  he  began  to 
think  of  building  ships,  and  attacking  the 
islanders.  Everything  had  been  got  ready  for 
this  purpose,  when  Bias  of  Priene  (or,  as  some 
say,  Pittacus  the  Mytilenean)  put  a  stop  to  the 
project.  The  king  had  made  inquiry  of  this 
person,  who  was  lately  arrived  at  Sardis,  if 
there  were  any  news  from  Greece;  to  which  he 
answered,  "Yes,  sire,  the  islanders  are  gather- 
ing ten  thousand  horse,  designing  an  expedi- 
tion against  thce  and  against  thy  capital."  Croe- 
sus, thinking  he  spake  seriously,  broke  out, 
"Ah,  might  the  gods  put  such  a  thought  into 
their  minds  as  to  attack  the  sons  of  the  Lydians 
with  cavalry!"  "It  seems,  oh'  king,"  rejoined 
the  other,  "that  thou  desirest  earnestly  to  catch 
the  islanders  on  horseback  upon  the  mainland, 
— thou  knowest  well  what  would  come  of  it. 
But  what  thinkest  thou  the  islanders  desire  bet- 
ter, now  that  they  hear  thou  art  about  to  build 
ships  and  sail  against  them,  than  to  catch  the 
Lydians  at  sea,  and  there  revenge  on  them  the 
wrongs  of  their  brothers  upon  the  mainland, 
whom  thou  boldest  in  slavery?"  Croesus  was 
charmed  with  the  turn  of  the  speech;  and 
thinking  there  was  reason  in  what  was  said, 
gave  up  his  ship-building  and  concluded  a 
league  of  amity  with  the  lonians  of  the  isles. 

28.  Croesus  afterwards,  in  the  course  of 
many  years,  brought  under  his  sway  almost  all 
the  nations  to  the  west  of  the  Halys.  The  Lyci- 
ans  and  Cilicians  alone  continued  free;  all  the 
other  tribes  he  reduced  and  held  in  subjection. 
They  were  the  following:  the  Lydians,  Phryg- 


ians, Mysians,  Mariandynians,  Chalybians, 
Paphlagonians,  Thynian  and  Bithynian  Thra- 
cians,  Carians,  lonians,  Dorians,  ^Eolians  and 
Pamphylians.1 

29.  When  all  these  conquests  had  been 
added  to  the  Lydian  empire,  and  the  prosperity 
of  Sardis  was  now  at  its  height,  there  came 
thither,  one  after  another,  all  the  sages  of 
Greece  living  at  the  time,  and  among  them 
Solon,  the  Athenian.  He  was  on  his  travels, 
having  left  Athens  to  be  absent  ten  years,  un- 
der the  pretence  of  wishing  to  see  the  world, 
but  really  to  avoid  being  forced  to  repeal  any 
of  the  laws  which,  at  the  request  of  the  Athen- 
ians, he  had  made  for  them.  Without  his  sanc- 
tion the  Athenians  could  not  repeal  them,  as 
they  had  bound  themselves  under  a  heavy 
curse  to  be  governed  for  ten  years  by  the  laws 
which  should  be  imposed  on  them  by  Solon. 

30.  On  this  account,  as  well  as  to  see  the 
world,  Solon  set  out  upon  his  travels,  in  the 
course  of  which  he  went  to  Egypt  to  the  court 
of  Amasis,  and  also  came  on  a  visit  to  Croesus 
at  Sardis.  Croesus  received  him  as  his  guest, 
and  lodged  him  in  the  royal  palace.  On  the 
third  or  fourth  day  after,  he  bade  his  servants 
conduct  Solon  over  his  treasuries,  and  show 
him    all    their   greatness   and    magnificence. 
When  he  had  seen  them  all,  and,  so  far  as  time 
allowed,  inspected   them,  Croesus  addressed 
this  question  to  him.  "Stranger  of  Athens,  we 
have  heard  much  of  thy  wisdom  and  of  thy 
travels  through  many  lands,  from  love  of 
knowledge  and  a  wish  to  see  the  world.  I  am 
curious  therefore  to  inquire  of  thee,  whom,  of 
all  the  men  that  thou  hast  seen,  thou  deemest 
the  most  happy?"  This  he  asked  because  he 
thought  himself  the  happiest  of  mortals:  but 
Solon  answered  him  without  flattery,  accord- 
ing to  his  true  sentiments,  "Tellus  of  Athens, 
sire."  Full  of  astonishment  at  what  he  heard, 
Croesus  demanded  sharply,  "And  wherefore 
dost  thou  deem  Tellus  happiest?"  To  which 
the  other  replied,  "First,  because  his  country 
was  flourishing  in  his  days,  and  he  himself  had 
sons  both  beautiful  and  good,  and  he  lived  to 
see  children  born  to  each  of  them,  and  these 
children  all  grew  up;  and  further  because,  after 
a  life  spent  in  what  our  people  look  upon  as 
comfort,  his  end  was  surpassingly  glorious.  In 
a  battle  between  the  Athenians  and  their 

1  It  is  not  quite  correct  to  speak  of  the  Cilici- 
ans as  dwelling  within  (i.e.,  west  of)  the  Halys, 
for  the  Halys  in  its  upper  course  ran  through 
Cilicia  (M  KtXfew,  I.  72),  and  that  country  lay 
chiefly  south  of  the  river. 


26-32] 


THE  HISTORY 


neighbours  near  Eleusis,  he  came  to  the  assist- 
ance of  his  countrymen,  routed  the  foe,  and 
died  upon  the  field  most  gallantly.  The  Athe- 
nians gave  him  a  public  funeral  on  the  spot 
where  he  fell,  and  paid  him  the  highest  hon- 
ours." 

31.  Thus  did  Solon  admonish  Croesus  by  the 
example  of  Tellus,  enumerating  the  manifold 
particulars  of  his  happiness.  When  he  had 
ended,  Crcesus  inquired  a  second  time,  who 
after  Tellus  seemed  to  him  the  happiest,  ex- 
pecting that  at  any  rate,  he  would  be  given  the 
second  place.  "Cleobis  and  Bito,"  Solon  an- 
swered; "they  were  of  Argive  race;  their  for- 
tune was  enough  for  their  wants,  and  they 
were  besides  endowed  with  so  much  bodily 
strength  that  they  had  both  gained  prizes  at 
the  Games.  Also  this  tale  is  told  of  them: — 
There  was  a  great  festival  in  honour  of  the 
goddess  Juno  at  Argos,  to  which  their  mother 
must  needs  be  taken  in  a  car.  Now  the  oxen 
did  not  come  home  from  the  field  in  time:  so 
the  youths,  fearful  of  being  too  late,  put  the 
yoke  on  their  own  necks,  and  themselves  drew 
the  car  in  which  their  mother  rode.  Five  and 
forty  furlongs  did  they  draw  her,  and  stopped 
before  the  temple.  This  deed  of  theirs  was  wit- 
nessed by  the  whole  assembly  of  worshippers, 
and  then  their  life  closed  in  the  best  possible 
way.  Herein,  too,  God  showed  forth  most  evi- 
dently, how  much  better  a  thing  for  man  death 
is  than  life.  For  the  Argive  men,  who  stood 
around  the  car,  extolled  the  vast  strength  of  the 
youths;  and  the  Argive  women  extolled  the 
mother  who  was  blessed  with  such  a  pair  of 
sons;  and  the  mother  herself,  overjoyed  at  the 
deed  and  at  the  praises  it  had  won,  standing 
straight  before  the  image,  besought  the  god- 
dess to  bestow  on  Cleobis  and  Bito,  the  sons 
who  had  so  mightily  honoured  her,  the  highest 
blessing  to  which  mortals  can  attain.    Her 
prayer  ended,  they  offered  sacrifice  and  par- 
took of  the  holy  banquet,  after  which  the  two 
youths  fell  asleep  in  the  temple.  They  never 
woke  more,  but  so  passed  from  the  earth.  The 
Argives,  looking  on  them  as  among  the  best  of 
men,  caused  statues  of  them  to  be  made,  which 
they  gave  to  the  shrine  at  Delphi." 

32.  When  Solon  had  thus  assigned  these 
youths  the  second  place,  Crcesus  broke  in  an- 
grily, "What,  stranger  of  Athens,  is  my  happi- 
ness, then,  so  utterly  set  at  nought  by  thec,  that 
thou  dost  not  even  put  me  on  a  level  with 
private  men?" 

"Oh!  Croesus,"  replied  the  other,  "thou  ask- 
edst  a  question  concerning  the  condition  of 


man,  of  one  who  knows  that  the  power  above 
us  is  full  of  jealousy,  and  fond  of  troubling  our 
lot.  A  long  life  gives  one  to  witness  much,  and 
experience  much  oneself,  that  one  would  not 
choose.  Seventy  years  I  regard  as  the  limit  of 
the  life  of  man.  In  these  seventy  years  are  con- 
tained, without  reckoning  intercalary  months, 
twenty-five  thousand  and  two  hundred  days. 
Add  an  intercalary  month  to  every  other  year, 
that  the  seasons  may  come  round  at  the  right 
time,  and  there  will  be,  besides  the  seventy 
years,  thirty-five  such  months,  making  an  addi- 
tion of  one  thousand  and  fifty  days.  The  whole 
number  of  the  days  contained  in  the  seventy 
years  will  thus  be  twenty-six  thousand  two 
hundred  and  fifty,  whereof  not  one  but  will 
produce  events  unlike  the  rest.  Hence  man  is 
wholly  accident.  For  thyself,  oh!  Croesus,  I  see 
that  thou  art  wonderfully  rich,  and  art  the  lord 
of  many  nations;  but  with  respect  to  that 
whereon  thou  questionest  me,  I  have  no  an- 
swer to  give,  until  I  hear  that  thou  hast  closed 
thy  life  happily.  For  assuredly  he  who  possesses 
great  store  of  riches  is  no  nearer  happiness 
than  he  who  has  what  suffices  for  his  daily 
needs,  unless  it  so  hap  that  luck  attend  upon 
him,  and  so  he  continue  in  the  enjoyment  of 
all  his  good  things  to  the  end  of  life.  For  many 
of  the  wealthiest  men  have  been  unfavoured  of 
fortune,  and  many  whose  means  were  moder- 
ate have  had  excellent  luck.  Men  of  the  former 
class  excel  those  of  the  latter  but  in  two  re- 
spects; these  last  excel  the  former  in  many.  The 
wealthy  man  is  better  able  to  content  his  de- 
sires, and  to  bear  up  against  a  sudden  buffet  of 
calamity.  The  other  has  less  ability  to  with- 
stand these  evils  (from  which,  however,  his 
good  luck  keeps  him  clear),  but  he  enjoys  all 
these  following  blessings:  he  is  whole  of  limb, 
a  stranger  to  disease,  free  from  misfortune, 
happy  in  his  children,  and  comely  to  look 
upon.  If,  in  addition  to  all  this,  he  end  his  life 
well,  he  is  of  a  truth  the  man  of  whom  thou  art 
in  search,  the  man  who  may  rightly  be  termed 
happy.  Call  him,  however,  until  he  die,  not 
happy  but  fortunate.  Scarcely,  indeed,  can  any 
man  unite  all  these  advantages:  as  there  is  no 
country  which  contains  within  it  all  that  it 
needs,  but  each,  while  it  possesses  some  things, 
lacks  others,  and  the  best  country  is  that  which 
contains  the  most;  so  no  single  human  being  is 
complete  in  every  respect — something  is  al- 
ways lacking.  He  who  unites  the  greatest  num- 
ber of  advantages,  and  retaining  them  to  the 
day  of  his  death,  then  dies  peaceably,  that  man 
alone,  sire,  is,  in  my  judgment,  entitled  to  bear 


8 


HERODOTUS 


[  BOOK  i 


the  name  of  'happy.'  But  in  every  matter  it  be- 
hoves us  to  mark  well  the  end:  for  oftentimes 
God  gives  men  a  gleam  of  happiness,  and  then 
plunges  them  into  ruin." 

33.  Such  was  the  speech  which  Solon  ad- 
dressed to  Croesus,  a  speech  which  brought 
him  neither  largess  nor  honour.  The  king  saw 
him  depart  with  much  indifference,  since  he 
thought  that  a  man  must  be  an  arrant  fool  who 
made  no  account  of  present  good,  but  bade 
men  always  wait  and  mark  the  end. 

34.  After  Solon  had  gone  away  a  dreadful 
vengeance,  sent  of  God,  came  upon  Croesus,  to 
punish  him,  it  is  likely,  for  deeming  himself 
the  happiest  of  men.  First  he  had  a  dream  in 
the  night,  which  foreshowed  him  truly  the 
evils  that  were  about  to  befall  him  in  the  per- 
son of  his  son.  For  Croesus  had  two  sons,  one 
blasted  by  a  natural  defect,  being  deaf  and 
dumb;  the  other,  distinguished  far  above  all 
his  co-mates  in  every  pursuit.  The  name  of  the 
last  was  Atys.  It  was  this  son  concerning  whom 
he  dreamt  a  dream  that  he  would  die  by  the 
blow  of  an  iron  weapon.  When  he  woke,  he 
considered  earnestly  with  himself,  and,  greatly 
alarmed  at  the  dream,  instantly  made  his  son 
take  a  wife,  and  whereas  in  former  years  the 
youth  had  been  wont  to  command  the  Lydian 
forces  in  the  field,  he  now  would  not  suffer 
him  to  accompany  them.  All  the  spears  and 
javelins,  and  weapons  used  in  the  wars,  he  re- 
moved out  of  the  male  apartments,  and  laid 
them  in  heaps  in  the  chambers  of  the  women, 
fearing  lest  perhaps  one  of  the  weapons  that 
hung  against  the  wall  might  fall  and  strike 
him. 

35.  Now  it  chanced  that  while  he  was  mak- 
ing arrangements  for  the  wedding,  there  came 
to  Sardis  a  man  under  a  misfortune,  who  had 
upon  him  the  stain  of  blood.  He  was  by  race  a 
Phrygian,  and  belonged  to  the  family  of  the 
king.  Presenting  himself  at  the  palace  of  Croe- 
sus, he  prayed  to  be  admitted  to  purification 
according  to  the  customs  of  the  country.  Now 
the  Lydian  method  of  purifying  is  very  nearly 
the  same  as  the  Greek.  Croesus  granted  the  re- 
quest, and  went  through  all  the  customary 
rites,  after  which  he  asked  the  suppliant  of  his 
birth  and  country,  addressing  him  as  follows: — 
"Who  art  thou,  stranger,  and  from  what  part 
of  Phrygia  Reddest  thou  to  take  refuge  at  my 
hearth?  And  whom,  moreover,  what  man  or 
what  woman,  hast  thou  slain?"  "Oh!  king," 
replied  the  Phrygian,  "I  am  the  son  of  Gordias, 
son  of  Midas.  I  am  named  Adrastus.  The  man 
I  unintentionally  slew  was  my  own  brother. 


For  this  my  father  drove  me  from  the  land, 
and  I  lost  all.  Then  fled  I  here  to  thee."  "Thou 
art  the  offspring,"  Croesus  rejoined,  "of  a  house 
friendly  to  mine,  and  thou  art  come  to  friends. 
Thou  shalt  want  for  nothing  so  long  as  thou 
abidest  in  my  dominions.  Bear  thy  misfortune 
as  easily  as  thou  mayest,  so  will  it  go  best  with 
thee."  Thenceforth  Adrastus  lived  in  the  pal- 
ace of  the  king. 

36.  It  chanced  that  at  this  very  same  time 
there  was  in  the  Mysian  Olympus  a  huge  mon- 
ster of  a  boar,  which  went  forth  often  from  this 
mountain  country,  and  wasted  the  corn-fields 
of  the  Mysians.  Many  a  time  had  the  Mysians 
collected  to  hunt  the  beast,  but  instead  of  doing 
him  any  hurt,  they  came  off  always  with  some 
loss  to  themselves.  At  length  they  sent  ambas- 
sadors to  Croesus,  who  delivered  their  message 
to  him  in  these  words:  "Oh!  king,  a  mighty 
monster  of  a  boar  has  appeared  in  our  parts, 
and  destroys  the  labour  of  our  hands.  We  do 
our  best  to  take  him,  but  in  vain.  Now  there- 
fore we  beseech  thee  to  let  thy  son  accompany 
us  back,  with  some  chosen  youths  and  hounds, 
that  we  may  rid  our  country  of  the  animal." 
Such  was  the  tenor  of  their  prayer. 

But  Croesus  bethought  him  of  his  dream,  and 
answered,  "Say  no  more  of  my  son  going  with 
you;  that  may  not  be  in  any  wise.  He  is  but  just 
joined  m  wedlock,  and  is  busy  enough  with 
that.  I  will  grant  you  a  picked  band  of  Lydi- 
ans,  and  all  my  huntsmen  and  hounds;  and  I 
will  charge  those  whom  I  send  to  use  all  zeal 
in  aiding  you  to  rid  your  country  of  the  brute." 

37.  With  this  reply  the  Mysians  were  con- 
tent; but  the  king's  son,  hearing  what  the 
prayer  of  the  Mysians  was,  came  suddenly  in, 
and  on  the  refusal  of  Croesus  to  let  him  go  with 
them,  thus  addressed  his  father:  "Formerly, 
my  father,  it  was  deemed  the  noblest  and  most 
suitable  thing  for  me  to  frequent  the  wars  and 
hunting-parties,  and  win  myself  glory  in  them; 
but  now  thou  keepest  me  away  from  both,  al- 
though thou  hast  never  beheld  in  me  either 
cowardice  or  lack  of  spirit.  What  face  mean- 
while must  I  wear  as  I  walk  to  the  forum  or 
return  from  it?  What  must  the  citizens,  what 
must  my  young  bride  think  of  me?  What  sort 
of  man  will  she  suppose  her  husband  to  be? 
Either,  therefore,  let  me  go  to  the  chase  of  this 
boar,  or  give  me  a  reason  why  it  is  best  for  me 
to  do  according  to  thy  wishes." 

38.  Then  Croesus  answered,  "My  son,  it  is 
not  because  I  have  seen  in  thee  either  coward- 
ice or  aught  else  which  has  displeased  me 
that  I  keep  thee  back;  but  because  a  vision 


33-45] 

which  came  before  me  in  a  dream  as  I  slept, 
warned  me  that  thou  wert  doomed  to  die 
young,  pierced  by  an  iron  weapon.  It  was  this 
which  first  led  me  to  hasten  on  thy  wedding, 
and  now  it  hinders  me  from  sending  thee  upon 
this  enterprise.  Fain  would  I  keep  watch  over 
thee,  if  by  any  means  I  may  cheat  fate  of  thee 
during  my  own  lifetime.  For  thou  art  the  one 
and  only  son  that  I  possess;  the  other,  whose 
hearing  is  destroyed,  I  regard  as  if  he  were 
not." 

39.  "Ah!  father,"  returned  the  youth,  "I 
blame  thee  not  for  keeping  watch  over  me  after 
a  dream  so  terrible;  but  if  thou  mistakest,  if 
thou  dost  not  apprehend  the  dream  aright,  'tis 
no  blame  for  me  to  show  thee  wherein  thou 
errest.  Now  the  dream,  thou  saidst  thyself, 
foretold  that  I  should  die  stricken  by  an  iron 
weapon.  But  what  hands  has  a  boar  to  strike 
with?  What  iron  weapon  does  he  wield  ?  Yet 
this  is  what  thou  fearest  for  me.  Had  the 
dream  said  that  I  should  die  pierced  by  a  tusk, 
then  thou  hadst  done  well  to  keep  me  away; 
but  it  said  a  weapon.  Now  here  we  do  not  com- 
bat men,  but  a  wild  animal.  I  pray  thee,  there- 
fore, let  me  go  with  them." 

40.  "There  thou  hast  me,  my  son,"  said 
Croesus,   "thy    interpretation   is   better   than 
mine.  I  yield  to  it,  and  change  my  mind,  and 
consent  to  let  thee  go." 

41.  Then  the  king  sent  for  Adrastus,  the 
Phrygian,  and  said  to  him,  "Adrastus,  when 
thou  wert  smitten  with  the  rod  of  affliction — 
no  reproach,  my  friend — I  purified  thee,  and 
have  taken  thee  to  live  with  me  in  my  palace, 
and  have  been  at  every  charge.  Now,  therefore, 
it  behoves  thee  to  requite  the  good  offices 
which  thou  hast  received  at  my  hands  by  con- 
senting to  go  with  my  son  on  this  hunting 
party,  and  to  watch  over  him,  if  perchance  you 
should  be  attacked  upon  the  road  by  some  band 
of  daring  robbers.  Even  apart  from  this,  it 
were  right  for  thee  to  go  where  thou  mayest 
make  thyself  famous  by  noble  deeds.  They  are 
the  heritage  of  thy  family,  and  thou  too  art  so 
stalwart  and  strong." 

42.  Adrastus  answered,  "Except  for  thy  re- 
quest, Oh!  king,  I  would  rather  have  kept 
away  from  this  hunt;  for  methinks  it  ill  be- 
seems a  man  under  a  misfortune  such  as  mine 
to  consort  with  his  happier  compeers;  and  be- 
sides, I  have  no  heart  to  it.  On  many  grounds  I 
had  stayed  behind;  but,  as  thou  urgest  it,  and  I 
am  bound  to  pleasure  thee  (for  truly  it  does 
behove  me  to  requite  thy  good  offices),  I  am 
content  to  do  as  thou  wishest.  For  thy  son, 


THE  HISTORY 


whom  thou  givest  into  my  charge,  be  sure 
thou  shalt  receive  him  back  safe  and  sound, 
so  far  as  depends  upon  a  guardian's  care- 
fulness." 

43.  Thus  assured,  Croesus  let  them  depart, 
accompanied  by  a  band  of  picked  youths,  and 
well  provided  with  dogs  of  chase.  When  they 
reached  Olympus,  they  scattered  in  quest  of 
the  animal;  he  was  soon  found,  and  the  hunters, 
drawing  round  him  in  a  circle,  hurled  their 
weapons  at  him.  Then  the  stranger,  the  man 
who  had  been  purified  of  blood,  whose  name 
was  Adrastus,  he  also  hurled  his  spear  at  the 
boar,  but  missed  his  aim,  and  struck  Atys. 
Thus  was  the  son  of  Croesus  slain  by  the  point 
of  an  iron  weapon,  and  the  warning  of  the 
vision  was  fulfilled.  Then  one  ran  to  Sardis  to 
bear  the  tidings  to  the  king,  and  he  came  and 
informed  him  of  the  combat  and  of  the  fate 
that  had  befallen  his  son. 

44.  If  it  was  a  heavy  blow  to  the  father  to 
learn  that  his  child  was  dead,  it  yet  more 
strongly  affected  him  to  think  that  the  very 
man  whom  he  himself  once  purified  had  clone 
the  deed.  In  the  violence  of  his  grief  he  called 
aloud  on  Jupiter  Catharsius  to  be  a  witness  of 
what  he  had  suffered  at  the  stranger's  hands. 
Afterwards  he  invoked  the  same  god  as  Jupiter 
Ephistius  and  Hetarreus — using  the  one  term 
because  he  had  unwittingly  harboured  in  his 
house  the  man  who  had  now  slain  his  son;  and 
the  other,  because  the  stranger,  who  had  been 
sent  as  his  child's  guardian,  had  turned  out  his 
most  cruel  enemy. 

45.  Presently  the  Lydians  arrived,  bearing 
the  body  of  the  youth,  and  behind  them  fol- 
lowed the  homicide.  He  took  his  stand  in  front 
of  the  corse,  and,  stretching  forth  his  hands  to 
Croesus,  delivered  himself  into  his  power  with 
earnest  entreaties  that  he  would  sacrifice  him 
upon  the  body  of  his  son — "his  former  misfor- 
tune was  burthen  enough;  now  that  he  had 
added  to  it  a  second,  and  had  brought  ruin  on 
the  man  who  purified  him,  he  could  not  bear 
to  live."  Then  Croesus,  when  he  heard  these 
words,  was  moved  with  pity  towards  Adrastus, 
notwithstanding  the  bitterness  of  his  own  ca- 
lamity; and  so  he  answered,  "Enough,  my 
friend;  I  have  all  the  revenge  that  I  require, 
since  thou  givest  sentence  of  death  against  thy- 
self. But  in  sooth  it  is  not  thou  who  hast  in- 
jured me,  except  so  far  as  thou  hast  unwit- 
tingly dealt  the  blow.  Some  god  is  the  author 
of  my  misfortune,  and  I  was  forewarned  of  it 
a  long  time  ago."  Crasus  after  this  buried  the 
body  of  his  son,  with  such  honours  as  befitted 


10 


HERODOTUS 


[  BOOK  i 


the  occasion.  Adrastus*  son  of  Gordias,  son  of 
Midas,  the  destroyer  of  his  brother  in  time 
past,  the  destroyer  now  of  his  purifier,  regard- 
ing himself  as  the  most  unfortunate  wretch 
whom  he  had  ever  known,  so  soon  as  all  was 
quiet  about  the  place,  slew  himself  upon  the 
tomb.  Croesus,  bereft  of  his  son,  gave  himself 
up  to  mourning  for  two  full  years. 

46.  At  the  end  of  this  time  the  grief  of  Croe- 
sus   was    interrupted    by    intelligence    from 
abroad.  He  learnt  that  Cyrus,  the  son  of  Cam- 
by  scs,  had  destroyed  the  empire  of  Astyages, 
the  son  of  Cyaxares;  and  that  the  Persians  were 
becoming  daily  more  powerful.  This  led  him 
to  consider  with  himself  whether  it  were  possi- 
ble to  check  the  growing  power  of  that  people 
before  it  came  to  a  head.  With  this  design  he 
resolved  to  make  instant  trial  of  the  several  ora- 
cles in  Greece,  and  ot  the  one  in  Libya.  So  he 
sent  his  messengers   in  different  directions, 
some  to  Delphi,  some  to  Abae  in  Phocis,  and 
some  to  Dodona;  others  to  the  oracle  of  Am- 
phiaraus;  others  to  that  of  Trophonius;  others, 
again,  to  Branchidse  in  Milesia.  These  were  the 
Greek  oracles  which  he  consulted.  To  Libya  he 
sent  another  embassy,  to  consult  the  oracle  of 
Ammon.  These  messengers  were  sent  to  test 
the  knowledge  of  the  oracles,  that,  if  they  were 
found  really  to  return  true  answers,  he  might 
send  a  second  time,  and  inquire  if  he  ought  to 
attack  the  Persians. 

47.  The  messengers  who  were  despatched  to 
make  trial  of  the  oracles  were  given  the  follow- 
ing instructions:  they  were  to  keep  count  of 
the  days  from  the  time  of  their  leaving  Sardis, 
and,  reckoning  from  that  date,  on  the  hun- 
dredth day  they  were  to  consult  the  oracles, 
and  to  inquire  of  them  what  Croesus  the  son  of 
Alyattes,  king  of  Lydia,  was  doing  at  that  mo- 
ment. The  answers  given  them  were  to  be 
taken  down  in  writing,  and  brought  back  to 
him.  None  of  the  replies  remain  on  record  ex- 
cept that  of  the  oracle  at  Delphi.  There,  the 
moment  that  the  Lydians  entered  the  sanctu- 
ary, and  before  they  put  their  questions,  the 
Pythoness  thus  answered  them  in  hexameter 
verse: — 

/  cun  count  the  sands,  and  I  can  measutc  the 

ocean, 
1  have  ears  for  the  silent,  and  l(now  what  the 

dumb  man  mcaneth; 
Lo!  on  my  sense  there  stn^eth  the  smell  of  a 

shell-covered  tortoise, 
Boiling  now  on  a  fire,  with  the  flesh  of  a  lamb, 

in  a  cauldron — 
Brass  is  the  vessel  below,  and  brass  the  cover 

above  it. 


48.  These  words  the  Lydians  wrote  down  at 
the  mouth  of  the  Pythoness  as  she  prophesied, 
and  then  set  off  on  their  return  to  Sardis. 
When  all  the  messengers  had  come  back  with 
the  answers  which  they  had  received,  Croesus 
undid  the  rolls,  and  read  what  was  written  in 
each.  Only  one  approved  itself  to  him,  that  of 
the  Delphic  oracle.  This  he  had  no  sooner 
heard  than  he  instantly  made  an  act  of  adora- 
tion, and  accepted  it  as  true,  declaring  that  the 
Delphic  was  the  only  really  oracular  shrine,  the 
only  one  that  had  discovered  in  what  way  he 
was  in  fact  employed.  For  on  the  departure  of 
his  messengers  he  had  set  himself  to  think  what 
was  most  impossible  for  any  one  to  conceive  of 
his  doing,  and  then,  waiting  till  the  day  agreed 
on  came,  he  acted  as  he  had  determined.  He 
took  a  tortoise  and  a  lamb,  and  cutting  them 
in  pieces  with  his  own  hands,  boiled  them  both 
together  in  a  brazen  cauldron,  covered  over 
with  a  lid  which  was  also  of  brass. 

49.  Such  then  was  the  answer  returned  to 
Croesus  from  Delphi.  What  the  answer  was 
which  the  Lydians  who  went  to  the  shrine  of 
Amphiaraus   and  performed  the  customary 
rites  obtained  of  the  oracle  there,  I  have  it  not 
in  my  power  to  mention,  for  there  is  no  record 
of  it.  All  that  is  known  is  that  Croesus  be- 
lieved himself  to  have  found  there  also  an  ora- 
cle which  spoke  the  truth. 

50.  After  this  Croesus,  having  resolved  to 
propitiate  the  Delphic  god  with  a  magnificent 
sacrifice,  offered  up  three  thousand  of  every 
kind  of  sacrificial  beast,  and  besides  made  a 
huge  pile,  and  placed  upon  it  couches  coated 
with  silver  and  with  gold,  and  golden  goblets, 
and  robes  and  vests  of  purple;  all  which  he 
burnt  in  the  hope  of  thereby  making  himself 
more  secure  of  the  favour  of  the  god.  Further 
he  issued  his  orders  to  all  the  people  of  the  land 
to  offer  a  sacrifice  according  to  their  means. 
When  the  sacrifice  was  ended,  the  king  melted 
down  a  vast  quantity  of  gold,  and  ran  it  into 
ingots,  making  them  six  palms  long,  three 
palms  broad,  and  one  palm  in  thickness.  The 
number  of  ingots  was  a  hundred  and  seven- 
teen, four  being  of  refined  gold,  in  weight  two 
talents  and  a  half;  the  others  of  pale  gold,  and 
in  weight  two  talents.  He  also  caused  a  statue 
of  a  lion  to  be  made  in  refined  gold,  the  weight 
of  which  was  ten  talents.  At  the  time  when  the 
temple  of  Delphi  was  burnt  to  the  ground,  this 
lion  fell  from  the  ingots  on  which  it  was 
placed;  it  now  stands  in  the  Corinthian  treas- 
ury, and  weighs  only  six  talents  and  a  half, 
having  lost  three  talents  and  a  half  by  the  fire. 


46-56] 

5 1 .  On  the  completion  of  these  works  Croe- 
sus sent  them  away  to  Delphi,  and  with  them 
two  bowls  of  an  enormous  size,  one  of  gold,  the 
other  of  silver,  which  used  to  stand,  the  latter 
upon  the  right,  the  former  upon  the  left,  as  one 
entered  the  temple.  They  too  were  moved  at 
the  time  of  the  fire;  and  now  the  golden  one  is 
in  the  Clazomenian  treasury,  and  weighs  eight 
talents  and  forty-two  minae;  the  silver  one 
stands  in  the  corner  of  the  ante-chapel,  and 
holds  six  hundred  amphorae.  This  is  known 
because  the  Delphians  fill  it  at  the  time  of  the 
Theophama.  It  is  said  by  the  Delphians  to  be  a 
work  of  Theodore  the  Samian,  and  I  think  that 
they  say  true,  for  assuredly  it  is  the  work  of  no 
common  artist.  Cro?sus  sent  also  four  silver 
casks,  which  are  in  the  Corinthian  treasury, 
and  two  lustral  vases,  a  golden  and  a  silver  one. 
On  the  former  is  inscribed  the  name  of  the 
Lacedemonians,  and  they  claim  it  as  a  gift  of 
theirs,  but  wrongly,  since  it  was  really  given  by 
Croesus.  The  inscription  upon  it  was  cut  by  a 
Delphian,  who  wished  to  pleasure  the  Lace- 
daemonians. His  name  is  known  to  me,  but  I 
forbear  to  mention  it.  The  boy,  through  whose 
hand  the  water  runs,  is  (I  confess)  a  Lacedae- 
monian gift,  but  they  did  not  give  either  of  the 
lustral  vases.  Besides  these  various  offerings, 
Croesus  sent  to  Delphi  many  others  of  less  ac- 
count, among  the  rest  a  number  of  round  silver 
basins.  Also  he  dedicated  a  female  figure  in 
gold,  three  cubits  high,  which  is  said  by  the 
Delphians  to  be  the  statue  of  his  baking- 
woman;  and  further,  he  presented  the  necklace 
and  the  girdles  of  his  wife. 

52.  These  were  the  offerings  sent  by  Croesus 
to  Delphi.  To  the  shrine  of  Amphiaraus,  with 
whose    valour  and   misfortune   he   was   ac- 
quainted, he  sent  a  shield  entirely  of  gold,  and 
a  spear,  also  of  solid  gold,  both  head  and  shaft. 
They  were  still  existing  in  my  day  at  Thebes, 
laid  up  in  the  temple  of  Ismenian  Apollo. 

53.  The  messengers  who  had  the  charge  of 
conveying  these  treasures  to  the  shrines,  re- 
ceived instructions  to  ask  the  oracles  whether 
Croesus  should  go  to  war  with  the  Persians, 
and  if  so,  whether  he  should  strengthen  him- 
self by  the  forces  of  an  ally.  Accordingly,  when 
they  had  reached  their  destinations  and  pre- 
sented the  gifts,  they  proceeded  to  consult  the 
oracles   in   the   following   terms: — "Croesus, 
king  of  Lydia  and  other  countries,  believing 
that  these  are  the  only  real  oracles  in  all  the 
world,  has  sent  you  such  presents  as  your  dis- 
coveries deserved,  and  now  inquires  of  you 
whether  he  shall  go  to  war  with  the  Persians, 


THE  HISTORY 


11 


and  if  so,  whether  he  shall  strengthen  himself 
by  the  forces  of  a  confederate."  Both  the  ora- 
cles agreed  in  the  tenor  of  their  reply,  which 
was  in  each  case  a  prophecy  that  if  Croesus  at- 
tacked the  Persians,  he  would  destroy  a  mighty 
empire,  and  a  recommendation  to  him  to  look 
and  see  who  were  the  most  powerful  of  the 
Greeks,  and  to  make  alliance  with  them. 

54.  At  the  receipt  of  these  oracular  replies 
Croesus  was  overjoyed,  and  feeling  sure  now 
that  he  would  destroy  the  empire  of  the  Per- 
sians, he  sent  once  more  to  Pytho,  and  present- 
ed to  the  Delphians,  the  number  of  whom  he 
had  ascertained,  two  gold  staters  apiece.  In  re- 
turn for  this  the  Delphians  granted  to  Croesus 
and  the  Lydians  the  privilege  of  precedency  in 
consulting   the  oracle,  exemption   from   all 
charges,  the  most  honourable  seat  at  the  festi- 
vals, and  the  perpetual  right  of  becoming  at 
pleasure  citizens  of  their  town. 

55.  After  sending  these  presents  to  the  Del- 
phians, Croesus  a  third  time  consulted  the  ora- 
cle, for  having  once  proved  its  truthfulness,  he 
wished  to  make  constant  use  of  it.  The  ques- 
tion whereto  he  now  desired  an  answer  was — 
"Whether  his  kingdom  would  be  of  long  dura- 
tion?" The  following  was  the  reply  of  the 
Pythoness: — 

Wait  till  the  time  shall  come  when  a  mule  is 

monarch  of  Media, 
Then,  thou  delicate  Lydian,  away  to  the  pebbles 

of  Hermus, 
Haste,  oh  I  haste  thec  awayt  nor  blush  to  behave 

lit(e  a  coward. 

56.  Of  all  the  answers  that  had  reached  him, 
this  pleased  him  far  the  best,  for  it  seemed  in- 
credible that  a  mule  should  ever  come  to  be 
king  of  the  Mcdes,  and  so  he  concluded  that 
the  sovereignty  would  never  depart  from  him- 
self or  his  seed  after  him.  Afterwards  he  turned 
his  thoughts  to  the  alliance  which  he  had  been 
recommended  to  contract,  and  sought  to  ascer- 
tain by  inquiry  which  was  the  most  powerful 
of  the  Grecian  states.  His  inquiries  pointed  out 
to  him  two  states  as  pre-eminent  above  the  rest. 
These  were  the  Lacedaemonians  and  the  Athe- 
nians, the  former  of  Doric,  the  latter  of  Ionic 
blood.  And  indeed  these  two  nations  had  held 
from  very  early  times  the  most  distinguished 
place  in  Greece,  the  one  being  a  Pelasgic,  the 
other  a  Hellenic  people,  and  the  one  having 
never  quitted  its  original  seats,  while  the  other 
had  been  excessively  migratory;  for  during  the 
reign  of  Deucalion,  Phthiotis  was  the  country 
in  which  the  Hellenes  dwelt,  but  under  Dorus, 


12 


HERODOTUS 


f  BOOR  i 


the  son  of  Hellcn,  they  moved  to  the  tract  at 
the  base  of  Ossa  and  Olympus,  which  is  called 
Histixotis;  forced  to  retire  from  that  region  by 
the  Cadmeians,1  they  settled,  under  the  name  of 
Macedni,  in  the  chain  of  Pindus.  Hence  they 
once  more  removed  and  came  to  Dryopis;  and 
from  Dryopis  having  entered  the  Peloponnese 
in  this  way,  they  became  known  as  Dorians. 

57.  What  the  language  of  the  Pelasgi  was  I 
cannot  say  with  any  certainty.  If,  however,  we 
may  form  a  conjecture  from  the  tongue  spoken 
by  the  Pelasgi  of  the  present  day — those,  for 
instance,  who  live  at  Creston  above  the  Tyrr- 
henians, who  formerly  dwelt  in  the  district 
named  Thessaliotis,  and  were  neighbours  of 
the  people  now  called  the  Dorians — or  those 
again  who  founded  Placia  and  Scylacd  upon 
the  Hellespont,  who  had  previously  dwelt  for 
some  time  with  the  Athenians — or  those,  in 
short,  of  any  other  of  the  cities  which  have 
dropped  the  name  but  are  in  fact  Pelasgian;  if, 
I  say,  we  are  to  form  a  conjecture  from  any  of 
these,  we  must  pronounce  that  the  Pelasgi 
spoke  a  barbarous  language.  If  this  were  really 
so,  and  the  entire  Pelasgic  race  spoke  the  same 
tongue,  the  Athenians,  who  were  certainly  Pe- 
lasgi, must  have  changed  their  language  at  the 
same  time  that  they  passed  into  the  Hellenic 
body;  for  it  is  a  certain  fact  that  the  people  of 
Creston  speak  a  language  unlike  any  of  their 
neighbours,  and  the  same  is  true  ot  the  Placi- 
anians,  while  the  language  spoken  by  these  two 
people  is  the  same;  which  shows  that  they  both 
retain  the  idiom  which  they  brought  with 
them  into  the  countries  where  they  are  now 
settled. 

58.  The  Hellenic  race  has  never,  since  its 
first  origin,  changed  its  speech.  This  at  least 
seems  evident  to  me.  It  was  a  branch  of  the 
Pelasgic,  which  separated  from  the  main  body, 
and  at  first  was  scanty  in  numbers  and  of  little 
power;  but  it  gradually  spread  and  increased  to 
a  multitude  of  nations,  chiefly  by  the  voluntary 
entrance  into  its  ranks  of  numerous  tribes  of 
barbarians.  The  Pelasgi,  on  the  other  hand, 
were,  as  I  think,  a  barbarian  race  which  never 
greatly  multiplied. 

59.  On  inquiring  into  the  condition  of  these 
two  nations,  Croesus  found  that  one,  the  Athe- 
nian, was  in  a  state  of  grievous  oppression  and 
distraction  under  Pisistratus,  the  son  of  Hippo- 
crates, who  was  at  that  time  tyrant  of  Athens. 

1  The  race  (their  name  merely  signifying  "the 
Easterns'1)  who,  in  the  ante-Trojan  times,  occu- 
pied the  country  which  was  afterwards  called 
Bocotia. 


Hippocrates,  when  he  was  a  private  citizen,  is 
said  to  have  gone  once  upon  a  time  to  Olympia 
to  see  the  Games,  when  a  wonderful  prodigy 
happened  to  him.  As  he  was  employed  in  sacri- 
ficing, the  cauldrons  which  stood  near,  full  of 
water  and  of  the  flesh  of  the  victims,  began  to 
boil  without  the  help  of  fire,  so  that  the  water 
overflowed  the  pots.  Chilon  the  Lacedaemoni- 
an, who  happened  to  be  there  and  to  witness 
the  prodigy,  advised  Hippocrates,  if  he  were 
unmarried,  never  to  take  into  his  house  a  wife 
who  could  bear  him  a  child;  if  he  already  had 
one,  to  send  her  back  to  her  friends;  if  he  had 
a  son,  to  disown  him.  Chilon's  advice  did  not 
at  all  please  Hippocrates,  who  disregarded  it, 
and  some  time  after  became  the  father  of  Pisis- 
tratus. This  Pisistratus,  at  a  time  when  there 
was  civil  contention  in  Attica  between  the  par- 
ty of  the  Sea-coast  headed  by  Megacles  the  son 
of  Alcmaeon,  and  that  of  the  Plain  headed  by 
Lycurgus,  one  of  the  Anstolaids,  formed  the 
project  of  making  himself  tyrant,  and  with  this 
view  created  a  third  party.  Gathering  together 
a  band  of  partisans,  and  giving  himself  out  for 
the  protector  of  the  Highlanders,  he  contrived 
the  following  stratagem.  He  wounded  himself 
and  his  mules,  and  then  drove  his  chariot  into 
the  market-place,  professing  to  have  just  es- 
caped an  attack  of  his  enemies,  who  had  at- 
tempted his  life  as  he  was  on  his  way  into  the 
country.  He  besought  the  people  to  assign  him 
a  guard  to  protect  his  person,  reminding  them 
of  the  glory  which  he  had  gained  when  he  led 
the  attack  upon  the  Megarians,  and  took  the 
town  of  Nisxa,  at  the  same  time  performing 
many  other  exploits.  The  Athenians,  deceived 
by  his  story,  appointed  him  a  band  of  citizens 
to  serve  as  a  guard,  who  were  to  carry  clubs  in- 
stead of  spears,  and  to  accompany  him  wher- 
ever he  went.  Thus  strengthened,  Pisistratus 
broke  into  revolt  and  seized  the  citadel.  In  this 
way  he  acquired  the  sovereignty  of  Athens, 
which  he  continued  to  hold  without  disturbing 
the  previously  existing  offices  or  altering  any  of 
the  laws.  He  administered  the  state  according 
to  the  established  usages,  and  his  arrangements 
were  wise  and  salutary. 

60.  However,  after  a  little  time,  the  partisans 
of  Megacles  and  those  of  Lycurgus  agreed  to 
forget  their  differences,  and  united  to  drive 
him  out.  So  Pisistratus,  having  by  the  means 
described  first  made  himself  master  of  Athens, 
lost  his  power  again  before  it  had  time  to  take 
root.  No  sooner,  however,  was  he  departed 
than  the  factions  which  had  driven  him  out 
quarrelled  anew,  and  at  last  Megacles,  wearied 


57-^3] 

with  the  struggle,  sent  a  herald  to  Pisistratus, 
with  an  offer  to  re-establish  him  on  the  throne 
if  he  would  marry  his  daughter.  Pisistratus 
consented,  and  on  these  terms  an  agreement 
was  concluded  between  the  two,  after  which 
they  proceeded  to  devise  the  mode  of  his  resto- 
ration. And  here  the  device  on  which  they  hit 
was  the  silliest  that  I  find  on  record,  more  es- 
pecially considering  that  the  Greeks  have  been 
from  very  ancient  times  distinguished  from  the 
barbarians  by  superior  sagacity  and  freedom 
from  foolish  simpleness,  and  remembering 
that  the  persons  &i  whom  this  trick  was  played 
were  not  only  Greeks  but  Athenians,  who  have 
the  credit  of  surpassing  all  other  Greeks  in 
cleverness.  There  was  in  the  Paeanian  district  a 
woman  named  Phya,  whose  height  only  fell 
short  of  four  cubits  by  three  fingers'  breadth, 
and  who  was  altogether  comely  to  look  upon. 
This  woman  they  clothed  in  complete  armour, 
and,  instructing  her  as  to  the  carriage  which 
she  was  to  maintain  in  order  to  beseem  her 
part,  they  placed  her  in  a  chariot  and  drove  to 
the  city.  Heralds  had  been  sent  forward  to  pre- 
cede her,  and  to  make  proclamation  to  this  ef- 
fect: "Citizens  of  Athens,  receive  again  Pisis- 
tratus with  friendly  minds.  Minerva,  who  of  all 
men  honours  him  the  most,  herself  conducts 
him  back  to  her  own  citadel."  This  they  pro- 
claimed in  all  directions,  and  immediately  the 
rumour  spread  throughout  the  country  dis- 
tricts that  Minerva  was  bringing  back  her  fa- 
vourite. They  of  the  city  also,  fully  persuaded 
that  the  woman  was  the  veritable  goddess, 
prostrated  themselves  before  her,  and  received 
Pisistratus  back. 

61.  Pisistratus,  having  thus  recovered  the 
sovereignty,  married,  according  to  agreement, 
the  daughter  of  Megacles.  As,  however,  he  had 
already  a  family  of  grown  up  sons,  and  the 
Alcmaronidae  were  supposed  to  be  under  a 
curse,  he  determined  that  there  should  be  no 
issue  of  the  marriage.  His  wife  at  first  kept  this 
matter  to  herself,  but  after  a  time,  either  her 
mother  questioned  her,  or  it  may  be  that  she 
told  it  of  her  own  accord.  At  any  rate,  she  in- 
formed her  mother,  and  so  it  reached  her  fa- 
ther's ears.  Megacles,  indignant  at  receiving  an 
affront  from  such  a  quarter,  in  his  anger  in- 
stantly made  up  his  differences  with  the  oppo- 
site faction,  on  which  Pisistratus,  aware  of 
what  was  planning  against  him,  took  himself 
out  of  the  country.  Arrived  at  Eretria,  he  held 
a  council  with  his  children  to  decide  what  was 
to  be  done.  The  opinion  of  Hippias  prevailed, 
and  it  was  agreed  to  aim  at  regaining  the  sov- 


THE  HISTORY 


13 


ereignty.  The  first  step  was  to  obtain  advances 
of  money  from  such  states  as  were  under  obli- 
gations to  them.  By  these  means  they  collected 
large  sums  from  several  countries,  especially 
from  the  Thebans,  who  gave  them  far  more 
than  any  of  the  rest.  To  be  brief,  time  passed, 
and  all  was  at  length  got  ready  for  their  return. 
A  band  of  Argive  mercenaries  arrived  from  the 
Peloponnese,  and  a  certain  Naxian  named 
Lygdamis,  who  volunteered  his  services,  was 
particularly  zealous  in  the  cause,  supplying 
both  men  and  money. 

62.  In  the  eleventh  year  of  their  exile  the 
family  of  Pisistratus  set  sail  from  Eretria  on 
their  return  home.  They  made  the  coast  of  At- 
tica, near  Marathon,  where  they  encamped, 
and  were  joined  by  their  partisans  from  the 
capital  and  by  numbers  from  the  country  dis- 
tricts, who  loved  tyranny  better  than  freedom. 
At  Athens,  while  Pisistratus  was  obtaining 
funds,  and  even  after  he  landed  at  Marathon, 
no  one  paid  any  attention  to  his  proceedings. 
When,  however,  it  became  known  that  he  had 
left  Marathon,  and  was  marching  upon  the 
city,  preparations  were  made  for  resistance,  the 
whole  force  of  the  state  was  levied,  and  led 
against  the  returning  exiles.  Meantime  the 
army  of  Pisistratus,  which  had  broken  up  from 
Marathon,  meeting  their  adversaries  near  the 
temple  of  the  Palienian  Minerva,  pitched  their 
camp  opposite  them.  Here  a  certain  soothsayer, 
Amphilytus  by  name,  an  Acarnanian,  moved 
by  a  divine  impulse,  came  into  the  presence  of 
Pisistratus,  and  approaching  him  uttered  thi> 
prophecy  in  the  hexameter  measure: — 

Now  has  the  cast  been  made,  the  net  is  out-spread 

in  the  water, 
Through  the  moonshiny  night  the  tunnies  will 

enter  the  meshes. 

63.  Such  was  the  prophecy  uttered  under  a 
divine  inspiration.  Pisistratus,  apprehending 
its  meaning,  declared  that  he  accepted  the  ora- 
cle, and  instantly  led  on  his  army.  The  Athe- 
nians from  the  city  had  just  finished  their  mid- 
day meal,  after  which  they  had  betaken  them- 
selves, some  to  dice,  others  to  sleep,  when  Pisis- 
tratus with  his  troops  fell  upon  them  and  put 
them  to  the  rout.  As  soon  as  the  flight  began, 
Pisistratus  bethought  himself  of  a  most  wise 
contrivance,  whereby  the  Athenians  might  be 
induced  to  disperse  and  not  unite  in  a  body  any 
more.  He  mounted  his  sons  on  horseback  and 
sent  them  on  in  front  to  overtake  the  fugitives, 
and  exhort  them  to  be  of  good  cheer,  and  re- 
turn each  man  to  his  home.  The  Athenians 


14 


HERODOTUS 


[  BOOK  i 


took  the  advice,  and  Pisistratus  became  for  the 
third  time  master  of  Athens. 

64.  Upon  this  he  set  himself  to  root  his 
power  more  firmly,  by  the  aid  of  a  numerous 
body  of  mercenaries,  and  by  keeping  up  a  full 
exchequer,  partly  supplied  from  native  sources, 
partly  from  the  countries  about  the  river  Stry- 
mon.  He  also  demanded  hostages  from  many 
of  the  Athenians  who  had  remained  at  home, 
and  not  left  Athens  at  his  approach;  and  these 
he  sent  to  Naxos,  which  he  had  conquered  by 
force  of  arms,  and  given  over  into  the  charge  of 
Lygdamis.  Farther,  he  purified  the  island  of 
Delos,  according  to  the  injunctions  of  an  ora- 
cle, after  the  following  fashion.  All  the  dead 
bodies  which  had  been  interred  within  sight  of 
the  temple  he  dug  up,  and  removed  to  another 
part  of  the  isle.  Thus  was  the  tyranny  of  Pisis- 
tratus established  at  Athens,  many  of  the  Athe- 
nians having  fallen  in  the  battle,  and  many 
others  having  fled  the  country  together  with 
the  son  of  Alcmeon. 

65.  Such  was  the  condition  of  the  Athenians 
when  Croesus  made  inquiry  concerning  them. 
Proceeding  to  seek  information  concerning  the 
Lacedemonians,  he  learnt  that,  after  passing 
through  a  period  of  great  depression,  they  had 
lately  been  victorious  in  a  war  with  the  people 
ot  Tegea;  for,  during  the  joint  reign  of  Leo  and 
Agasicles,  kings  of  Sparta,  the  Lacedemon- 
ians, successful  in  all  their  other  wars,  suffered 
continual  defeat  at  the  hands  of  the  Tegeans. 
At  a  still  earlier  period  they  had  been  the  very 
worst  governed  people  in  Greece,  as  well  in 
matters  of  internal  management  as  in  their  re- 
lations towards  foreigners,  from  whom  they 
kept  entirely  aloof.  The  circumstances  which 
led  to  their  being  well  governed  were  the  fol- 
lowing:— Lycurgus,    a    man    of    distinction 
among  the  Spartans,  had  gone  to  Delphi,  to 
visit  the  oracle.  Scarcely  had  he  entered  into 
the  inner  fane,  when  the  Pythoness  exclaimed 
aloud, 

Oh1  thou  great  Lycurgus,  that  com'st  to  my 

heautijul  dwelling, 
Dear  to  fore,  and  to  all  who  sit  in  the  halls 

of  Olympus, 
Whether  to  hail  thee  a  god  I  t^now  not.  ot  only 

a  mortal, 
But  my  hope  is  strong  that  a  god  thou  wilt 

prove,  Lycurgus. 

Some  report  besides,  that  the  Pythoness  de- 
livered to  him  the  entire  system  of  laws  which 
are  still  observed  by  the  Spartans.  The  Lace- 
demonians, however,  themselves  assert  that  Ly- 


curgus, when  he  was  guardian  of  his  nephew, 
Labotas,  king  of  Sparta,  and  regent  in  his 
room,  introduced  them  from  Crete;  for  as  soon 
as  he  became  regent,  he  altered  the  whole  of 
the  existing  customs,  substituting  new  ones, 
which  he  took  care  should  be  observed  by  all. 
After  this  he  arranged  whatever  appertained 
to  war,  establishing  the  Enomotie,  Triacades, 
and  Syssitia,  besides  which  he  instituted  the 
senate,1  and  the  ephoralty.  Such  was  the  way 
in  which  the  Lacedemonians  became  a  well- 
governed  people. 

66.  On  the  death  of  Lycurf  us  they  built  him 
a  temple,  and  ever  since  they  have  worshipped 
him  with  the  utmost  reverence.  Their  soil  be- 
ing good  and  the  population  numerous,  they 
sprang  up  rapidly  to  power,  and  became  a 
flourishing  people.  In  consequence  they  soon 
ceased  to  be  satisfied  to  stay  quiet;  and,  regard- 
ing the  Arcadians  as  very  much  their  inferiors, 
they  sent  to  consult  the  oracle  about  conquer- 
ing the  whole  of  Arcadia.  The  Pythoness  thus 
answered  them: 

Ctavest  thou  Atcady?  Bold  is  thy  ciating.  I  shall 

not  content  it. 
Many  the  men  that  in  Arcady  dwell,  whose  food 

is  the  acorn — 
They  will  nevet  allow  thee.  It  is  not  I  that  am 

niggard. 
1  will  give  thee  to  dance  in  Tegea,  with  noisy 

foot-jail, 
And  with  the  measunng  line  mete  out  the  glon- 

ous  champaign. 

When  the  Lacedemonians  received  this  reply, 
leaving  the  rest  of  Arcadia  untouched,  they 
marched  against  the  Tegeans,  carrying  with 
them  fetters,  so  confident  had  this  oracle 
(which  was,  in  truth,  but  of  base  metal)  made 
them  that  they  would  enslave  the  Tegeans. 
The  battle,  However,  went  against  them,  and 
many  fell  into  the  enemy's  hands.  Then  these 
persons,  wearing  the  fetters  which  they  had 
themselves  brought,  and  fastened  together  in  a 
string,  measured  the  Tegean  plain  as  they  exe- 
cuted their  labours.  The  fetters  in  which  they 
worked  were  still,  in  my  day,  preserved  at 
Tegea  where  they  hung  round  the  walls  of  the 
temple  of  Minerva  Alea. 

67.  Throughout  the  whole  of  this  early  con- 
test with  the  Tegeans,  the  Lacedemonians  met 
with  nothing  but  defeats;  but  in  the  time  of 

1  It  is  quite  inconceivable  that  Lycurgus  should 
in  any  sense  have  instituted  the  senate.  Lycurgus 
appears  to  have  made  scarcely  any  changes  in  the 
constitution.  What  he  did  was  to  alter  the  cus- 
toms and  habits  of  the  people. 


64-69] 


THE  HISTORY 


Croesus,  under  the  kings  Anaxand rides  and 
Aristo,  fortune  had  turned  in  their  favour,  in 
the  manner  which  I  will  now  relate.  Having 
been  worsted  in  every  engagement  by  their 
enemy,  they  sent  to  Delphi,  and  inquired  of 
the  oracle  what  god  they  must  propitiate  to  pre- 
vail in  the  war  against  the  Tegeans.  The  an- 
swer of  the  Pythoness  was  that  before  they 
could  prevail,  they  must  remove  to  Sparta  the 
bones  of  Orestes,  the  son  of  Agamemnon.  Un- 
able to  discover  his  burial-place,  they  sent  a 
second  time,  and  asked  the  god  where  the  body 
of  the  hero  had  been  laid.  The  following  was 
the  answer  they  received: — 

Le vel  and  smooth  is  the  plain  where  Arcadian 

Tegea  standcth; 
There  two  winds  are  ever,  by  strong  necessity, 

blowing, 
Counter-strode  answers  strode,  and  evil  lies  upon 

evil. 
There  all-teeming  Earth  doth  harbour  the  son  of 

Atndes; 
Bring  thou  him  to  thy  city,  and  then  be  Tegea9 s 

master. 

After  this  reply,  the  Lacedemonians  were  no 
nearer  discovering  the  burial-place  than  before, 
though  they  continued  to  search  for  it  dili- 
gently; until  at  last  a  man  named  Lichas,  one 
of  the  Spartans  called  Agathoergi,  found  it. 
The  Agathoergi  are  citizens  who  have  just 
served  their  time  among  the  knights.  The  five 
eldest  of  the  knights  go  out  every  year,  and  are 
bound  during  the  year  after  their  discharge  to 
go  wherever  the  State  sends  them,  and  actively 
employ  themselves  in  its  service. 

68.  Lichas  was  one  of  this  body  when,  partly 
by  good  luck,  partly  by  his  own  wisdom,  he 
discovered  the  burial-place.  Intercourse  be- 
tween the  two  States  existing  just  at  this  time, 
he  went  to  Tegea,  and,  happening  to  enter  into 
the  workshop  of  a  smith,  he  saw  him  forging 
some  iron.  As  he  stood  marvelling  at  what 
he  beheld,1  he  was  observed  by  the  smith 
who,  leaving  off  his  work,  went  up  to  him 
and  said, 

"Certainly,  then,  you  Spartan  stranger,  you 
would  have  been  wonderfully  surprised  if  you 
had  seen  what  I  have,  since  you  make  a  marvel 
even  of  the  working  in  iron.  I  wanted  to  make 
myself  a  well  in  this  room,  and  began  to  dig  it, 
when  what  think  you?  I  came  upon  a  coffin 
seven  cubits  long.  I  had  never  believed  that 
men  were  taller  in  the  olden  times  than  they 
are  now,  so  I  opened  the  coffin.  The  body  inside 

1  Herodotus  means  to  represent  that  the  forging 
of  iron  was  a  novelty  at  the  time. 


was  of  the  same  length:  I  measured  it,  and 
filled  up  the  hole  again." 

Such  was  the  man's  account  of  what  he  had 
seen.  The  other,  on  turning  the  matter  over  in 
his  mind,  conjectured  that  this  was  the  body 
of  Orestes,  of  which  the  oracle  had  spoken.  He 
guessed  so,  because  he  observed  that  the  smithy 
had  two  bellows,  which  he  understood  to  be 
the  two  winds,  and  the  hammer  and  anvil 
would  do  for  the  stroke  and  the  counterstroke, 
and  the  iron  that  was  being  wrought  for  the 
evil  lying  upon  evil.  This  he  imagined  might 
be  so  because  iron  had  been  discovered  to  the 
hurt  of  man.  Full  of  these  conjectures,  he  sped 
back  to  Sparta  and  laid  the  whole  matter  be- 
fore his  countrymen.  Soon  after,  by  a  concerted 
plan,  they  brought  a  charge  against  him,  and 
began  a  prosecution.  Lichas  betook  himself  to 
Tegea,  and  on  his  arrival  acquainted  the  smith 
with  his  misfortune,  and  proposed  to  rent  his 
room  of  him.  The  smith  refused  for  some 
time;  but  at  last  Lichas  persuaded  him,  and 
took  up  his  abode  in  it.  Then  he  opened  the 
grave,  and  collecting  the  bones,  returned  with 
them  to  Sparta.  From  henceforth,  whenever 
the  Spartans  and  the  Tegeans  made  trial  of 
each  other's  skill  in  arms,  the  Spartans  always 
had  greatly  the  advantage;  and  by  the  time  to 
which  we  are  now  come  they  were  masters  of 
most  of  the  Peloponncse. 

69.  Croesus,  informed  of  all  these  circum- 
stances, sent  messengers  to  Sparta,  with  gifts 
in  their  hands,  who  were  to  ask  the  Spartans 
to  enter  into  alliance  with  him.  They  received 
strict  injunctions  as  to  what  they  should  say, 
and  on  their  arrival  at  Sparta  spake  as  fol- 
lows:— 

"Croesus,  king  of  the  Lydians  and  of  other 
nations,  has  sent  us  to  speak  thus  to  you:  'Oh! 
Lacedaemonians,  the  god  has  bidden  me  to 
make  the  Greek  my  friend;  I  therefore  apply  to 
you,  in  conformity  with  the  oracle,  knowing 
that  you  hold  the  first  rank  in  Greece,  and  de- 
sire to  become  your  friend  and  ally  in  all  true 
faith  and  honesty/  " 

Such  was  the  message  which  Croesus  sent  by 
his  heralds.  The  Lacedaemonians,  who  were 
aware  beforehand  of  the  reply  given  him  by  the 
oracle,  were  full  of  joy  at  the  coming  of  the 
messengers,  and  at  once  took  the  oaths  of 
friendship  and  alliance:  this  they  did  the  more 
readily  as  they  had  previously  contracted  cer- 
tain obligations  towards  him.  They  had  sent 
to  Sardis  on  one  occasion  to  purchase  some 
gold,  intending  to  use  it  on  a  statue  of  Apollo 
— the  statue,  namely,  which  remains  to  this 


16 


HERODOTUS 


[  BOOK  i 


day  at  Thornax  in  Laconia,  when  Croesus, 
hearing  of  the  matter,  gave  them  as  a  gift  the 
gold  which  they  wanted. 

70.  This  was  one  reason  why  the  Lacedae- 
monians were  so  willing  to  make  the  alliance: 
another  was,  because  Croesus  had  chosen  them 
for  his  friends  in  preference  to  all  the  other 
Greeks.  They  therefore  held  themselves  in 
readiness  to  come  at  his  summons,  and  not  con- 
tent with  so  doing,  they  further  had  a  huge 
vase  made  in  bronze,  covered  with  figures  of 
animals  all  round  the  outside  of  the  rim,  and 
large  enough  to  contain  three  hundred  am- 
phora:, which  they  sent  to  Croesus  as  a  return 
for  his  presents  to  them.  The  vase,  however, 
never  reached  Sardis.  Its  miscarriage  is  ac- 
counted for  in  two  quite  different  ways.  The 
Lacedaemonian  story  is  that  when  it  reached 
Samos,  on  its  way  towards  Sardis,  the  Samians 
having  knowledge  of  it,  put  to  sea  in  their 
ships  of  war  and  made  it  their  prize.  But  the 
Samians  declare  that  the  Lacedarmonians  who 
had  the  vase  in  charge,  happening  to  arrive  too 
late,  and  learning  that  Sardis  had  fallen  and 
that  Croesus  was  a  prisoner,  sold  it  in  their 
island,  and  the  purchasers  (who  were,  they  say, 
private  persons)  made  an  offering  of  it  at  the 
shrine  of  Juno:  the  sellers  were  very  likely  on 
their  return  to  Sparta  to  have  said  that  they 
had  been  robbed  of  it  by  the  Samians.  Such, 
then,  was  the  fate  of  the  vase. 

71.  Meanwhile  Croesus,  taking  the  oracle  in 
a  wrong  sense,  led  his  forces  into  Cappadocia, 
fully  expecting  to  defeat  Cyrus  and  destroy  the 
empire  of  the  Persians.  While  he  was  still  en- 
gaged in  making  preparations  for  his  attack, 
a  Lydian  named  Sandanis,  who  had  always 
been  looked  upon  as  a  wise  man,  but  who  after 
this  obtained  a  very  great  name  indeed  among 
his  countrymen,  came  forward  and  counselled 
the  king  in  these  words: 

"Thou  art  about,  oh!  king,  to  make  war 
against  men  who  wear  leathern  trousers,  and 
have  all  their  other  garments  of  leather;  who 
feed  not  on  what  they  like,  but  on  what  they 
can  get  from  a  soil  that  is  sterile  and  unkindly; 
who  do  not  indulge  in  wine,  but  drink  water; 
who  possess  no  figs  nor  anything  else  that  is 
good  to  eat.  If,  then,  thou  conquerest  them, 
what  canst  thou  get  from  them,  seeing  that 
they  have  nothing  at  all?  But  if  they  conquer 
thee,  consider  how  much  that  is  precious  thou 
wilt  lose:  if  they  once  get  a  taste  of  our  pleasant 
things,  they  will  keep  such  hold  of  them  that 
we  shall  never  be  able  to  make  them  loose  their 
grasp.  For  my  part,  I  am  thankful  to  the  gods 


that  they  have  not  put  it  into  the  hearts  of  the 
Persians  to  invade  Lydia." 

Croesus  was  not  persuaded  by  this  speech, 
though  it  was  true  enough;  for  before  the  con- 
quest of  Lydia,  the  Persians  possessed  none  of 
the  luxuries  or  delights  of  life. 

72.  The  Cappadocians  are  known  to  the 
Greeks  by  the  name  of  Syrians.  Before  the  rise 
of  the  Persian  power,  they  had  been  subject  to 
the  Medes;  but  at  the  present  time  they  were 
within  the  empire  of  Cyrus,  for  the  boundary 
between  the  Median  and  the  Lydian  empires 
was  the  river  Halys.  This  stream,  which  rises 
in  the  mountain  country  of  Armenia,  runs 
first  through  Cilicia;  afterwards  it  flows  for  a 
while  with  the  Matieni  on  the  right,  and  the 
Phrygians  on  the  left:  then,  when  they  are 
passed,  it  proceeds  with  a  northern  course,  sep- 
arating the  Cappadocian  Syrians   from   the 
Paphlagonians,  who  occupy  the  left  bank,  thus 
forming  the  boundary  of  almost  the  whole  of 
Lower  Asia,  from  the  sea  opposite  Cyprus  to 
the  Euxine.  Just  there  is  the  neck  of  the  penin- 
sula, a  journey  of  five  days  across  for  an  active 
walker. 

73.  There  were  two  motives  which  led  Croe- 
sus to  attack  Cappadocia:  firstly,  he  coveted 
the  land,  which  he  wished  to  add  to  his  own 
dominions;  but  the  chief  reason  was  that  he 
wanted  to  revenge  on  Cyrus  the  wrongs  of 
Astyages,  and  was  made  confident  by  the  ora- 
cle of  being  able  so  to  do:  for  Astyages,  son 
of  Cyaxares  and  king  of  the  Medes,  who  had 
been  dethroned  by  Cyrus,  son  of  Cambyses, 
was  Croesus*  brother  by  marriage.  This  mar- 
riage had  taken  place  under  circumstances 
which  I  will  now  relate.  A  band  of  Scythian 
nomads,  who  had  left  their  own  land  on  occa- 
sion of  some  disturbance,  had  taken  refuge  in 
Media.  Cyaxares,  son  of  Phraortes,  and  grand- 
son of  Deioces,  was  at  that  time  king  of  the 
country.  Recognising  them  as  suppliants,  he 
began  by  treating  them  with  kindness,  and 
coming  presently  to  esteem  them  highly,  he  in- 
trusted to  their  care  a  number  of  boys,  whom 
they  were  to  teach  their  language  and  to  in- 
struct in  the  use  of  the  bow.  Time  passed,  and 
the  Scythians  employed  themselves,  day  after 
day,  in  hunting,  and  always  brought  home 
some  game;  but  at  last  it  chanced  that  one  day 
they  took  nothing.  On  their  return  to  Cyaxares 
with  empty  hands,  that  monarch,  who  was 
hot-tempered,  as  he  showed  upon  the  occasion, 
received  them  very  rudely  and  insultingly.  In 
consequence  of  this  treatment,  which  they  did 
not  conceive  themselves  to  have  deserved,  the 


TO-;?] 

Scythians  determined  to  take  one  of  the  boys 
whom  they  had  in  charge,  cut  him  in  pieces, 
and  then  dressing  the  flesh  as  they  were  wont 
to  dress  that  of  the  wild  animals,  serve  it  up  to 
Cyaxares  as  game:  after  which  they  resolved  to 
convey  themselves  with  all  speed  to  Sardis,  to 
the  court  of  Alyattes,  the  son  of  Sadyattes.  The 
plan  was  carried  out:  Cyaxares  and  his  guests 
ate  of  the  flesh  prepared  by  the  Scythians,  and 
they  themselves,  having  accomplished  their 
purpose,  fled  to  Alyattes  in  the  guise  of  suppli- 
ants. 

74.  Afterwards,  on  the  refusal  of  Alyattes  to 
give  up  his  suppliants  when  Cyaxares  sent  to 
demand  them  of  him,  war  broke  out  between 
the  Lydians  and  the  Medes,  and  continued  for 
five  years,  with  various  success.  In  the  course 
of  it  the  Medes  gained  many  victories  over  the 
Lydians,  and  the  Lydians  also  gained  many 
victories  over  the  Medes.  Among  their  other 
battles  there  was  one  night  engagement.  As, 
however,  the  balance  had  not  inclined  in  fa- 
vour of  either  nation,  another  combat  took 
place  in  the  sixth  year,  in  the  course  of  which, 
just  as  the  battle  was  growing  warm,  day  was 
on  a  sudden  changed  into  night.  This  event 
had  been  foretold  by  Thales,  the  Milesian,  who 
forewarned  the  lonians  of  it,  fixing  for  it  the 
very  year  in  which  it  actually  took  place.  The 
Medes  and  Lydians,  when  they  observed  the 
change,  ceased  fighting,  and  were  alike  anx- 
ious to  have  terms  of  peace  agreed  on.  Syen- 
nesis  of  Cilicia,  and  Labynetus  of  Babylon, 
were  the  persons  who  mediated  between  the 
parties,  who  hastened  the  taking  of  the  oaths, 
and  brought  about  the  exchange  of  espousals. 
It  was  they  who  advised  that  Alyattes  should 
give  his  daughter  Aryenis  in  marriage  to  Asty- 
ages,  the  son  of  Cyaxares,  knowing,  as  they 
did,  that  without  some  sure  bond  of  strong  ne- 
cessity, there  is  wont  to  be  but  little  security  in 
men's  covenants.  Oaths  are  taken  by  these  peo- 
ple in  the  same  way  as  by  the  Greeks,  except 
that  they  make  a  slight  flesh  wound  in  their 
arms,  from  which  each  sucks  a  portion  of  the 
other's  blood. 

75.  Cyrus  had  captured  this  Astyages,  who 
was  his  mother's  father,  and  kept  him  prison- 
er, for  a  reason  which  I  shall  bring  forward  in 
another   part  of  my   history.   This   capture 
formed  the  ground  of  quarrel  between  Cyrus 
and  Croesus,  in  consequence  of  which  Croesus 
sent  his  servants  to  ask  the  oracle  if  he  should 
attack  the  Persians;  and  when  an  evasive  an- 
swer came,  fancying  it  to  be  in  his  favour,  car- 
ried his  arms  into  the  Persian  territory.  When 


THE  HISTORY 


17 


he  reached  the  river  Halys,  he  transported  his 
army  across  it,  as  I  maintain,  by  the  bridges 
which  exist  there  at  the  present  day;  but,  ac- 
cording to  the  general  belief  of  the  Greeks,  by 
the  aid  of  Thales  the  Milesian.  The  tale  is  that 
Croesus  was  in  doubt  how  he  should  get  his 
army  across,  as  the  bridges  were  not  made  at 
that  time,  and  that  Thales,  who  happened  to 
be  in  the  camp,  divided  the  stream  and  caused 
it  to  flow  on  both  sides  of  the  army  instead  of 
on  the  left  only.  This  he  effected  thus: — Begin- 
ning some  distance  above  the  camp,  he  dug  a 
deep  channel,  which  he  brought  round  in  a 
semicircle,  so  that  it  might  pass  to  rearward  of 
the  camp;  and  that  thus  the  river,  diverted 
from  its  natural  course  into  the  new  channel  at 
the  point  where  this  left  the  stream,  might  flow 
by  the  station  of  the  army,  and  afterwards  fall 
again  into  the  ancient  bed.  In  this  way  the 
river  was  split  into  two  streams,  which  were 
both  easily  fordable.  It  is  said  by  some  that  the 
water  was  entirely  drained  off  from  the  natural 
bed  of  the  river.  But  I  am  of  a  different  opin- 
ion; for  I  do  not  see  how,  in  that  case,  they 
could  have  crossed  it  on  their  return. 

76.  Having  passed  the  Halys  with  the  forces 
under  his  command,  Croesus  entered  the  dis- 
trict of  Cappadocia  which  is  called  Ptena.  It 
lies  in  the  neighbourhood  of  the  city  of  Sinope' 
upon  the  Euxine,  and  is  the  strongest  position 
in  the  whole  country  thereabouts.  Here  Croe- 
sus pitched  his  camp,  and  began  to  ravage  the 
fields  of  the  Syrians.  He  besieged  and  took  the 
chief  city  of  the  Pterians,  and  reduced  the  in- 
habitants to  slavery:  he  likewise  made  himself 
master  of  the  surrounding  villages.  Thus  he 
brought  ruin  on  the  Syrians,  who  were  guilty 
of  no  offence  towards  him.  Meanwhile,  Cyrus 
had  levied  an  army  and  marched  against  Croe- 
sus, increasing  his  numbers  at  every  step  by 
the  forces  of  the  nations  that  lay  in  his  way. 
Before  beginning  his  march  he  had  sent  her- 
alds to  the  lonians,  with  an  invitation  to  them 
to  revolt  from  the  Lydian  king:  they,  however, 
had  refused  compliance.  Cyrus,  notwithstand- 
ing, marched   against   the  enemy,   and  en- 
camped opposite  them  in  the  district  of  Pteria, 
where  the  trial  of  strength  took  place  between 
the  contending  powers.  The  combat  was  hot 
and  bloody,  and  upon  both  sides  the  number 
of  the  slain  was  great;  nor  had  victory  declared 
in  favour  of  either  party,  when  night  came 
down  upon  the  battle-field.  Thus  both  armies 
fought  valiantly. 

77.  Croesus  laid  the  blame  of  his  ill  success 
on  the  number  of  his  troops,  which  fell  very 


18 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK  i 


short  of  the  enemy;  and  as  on  the  next  day  Cy- 
rus did  not  repeat  the  attack,  he  set  off  on  his 
return  to  Sardis,  intending  to  collect  his  allies 
and  renew  the  contest  in  the  spring.  He  meant 
to  call  on  the  Egyptians  to  send  him  aid,  ac- 
cording to  the  terms  of  the  alliance  which  he 
had  concluded  with  Amasis,  previously  to  his 
league  with  the  Lacedemonians.  He  intended 
also  to  summon  to  his  assistance  the  Baby- 
lonians, under  their  king  Labynetus,  for  they 
too  were  bound  to  him  by  treaty:  and  further, 
he  meant  to  send  word  to  Sparta,  and  appoint 
a  day  for  the  coming  of  their  succours.  Hav- 
ing got  together  these  forces  in  addition  to  his 
own,  he  would,  as  soon  as  the  winter  was  past 
and  springtime  come,  march  once  more 
against  the  Persians.  With  these  intentions 
Croesus,  immediately  on  his  return,  despatched 
heralds  to  his  various  allies,  with  a  request  that 
they  would  join  him  at  Sardis  in  the  course  of 
the  fifth  month  from  the  time  of  the  departure 
of  his  messengers.  He  then  disbanded  the  army 
— consisting  of  mercenary  troops — which  had 
been  engaged  with  the  Persians  and  had  since 
accompanied  him  to  his  capital,  and  let  them 
depart  to  their  homes,  never  imagining  that 
Cyrus,  after  a  battle  in  which  victory  had  been 
so  evenly  balanced,  would  venture  to  march 
upon  Sardis. 

78.  While  Croesus  was  still  in  this  mind,  all 
the  suburbs  of  Sardis  were  found  to  swarm 
with  snakes,  on  the  appearance  ot  which  the 
horses  left  feeding  in  the  pasture-grounds,  and 
flocked  to  the  suburbs  to  eat  them.  The  king, 
who  witnessed  the  unusual  sight,  regarded  it 
very  rightly  as  a  prodigy.   He  therefore  in- 
stantly sent  messengers  to  the  soothsayers  of 
Telmessus,  to  consult  them  upon  the  matter. 
His  messengers  reached  the  city,  and  obtained 
from  the  Telmessians  an  explanation  of  what 
the  prodigy  portended,  but  tate  did  not  allow 
them  to  inionn  their  lord;  for  ere  they  entered 
Sardis  on  their  return,  Croesus  was  a  prisoner. 
What  the  Telmessians  had  declared  was  that 
Croesus  must  look  for  the  entry  of  an  army  of 
foreign  invaders  into  his  country,  and  that 
when  they  came  they  would  subdue  the  native 
inhabitants;  since  the  snake,  said  they,  is  a 
child  of  earth,  and  the  horse  a  warrior  and  a 
foreigner.  Croesus  was  already  a  prisoner  when 
the  Telmessians  thus  answered  his  inquiry, 
but  they  had  no  knowledge  of  what  was  taking 
place  at  Sardis,  or  of  the  fate  of  the  monarch. 

79.  Cyrus,  however,  when  Croesus  broke  up 
so  suddenly  from  his  quarters  after  the  battle 
at  Pteria,  conceiving  that  he  had  marched 


away  with  the  intention  of  disbanding  his 
army,  considered  a  little,  and  soon  saw  that  it 
was  advisable  for  him  to  advance  upon  Sardis 
with  all  haste,  before  the  Lydians  could  get 
their  forces  together  a  second  time.  Having 
thus  determined,  he  lost  no  time  in  carrying 
out  his  plan.  He  marched  forward  with  such 
speed  that  he  was  himself  the  first  to  announce 
his  coming  to  the  Lydian  king.  That  monarch, 
placed  in  the  utmost  difficulty  by  the  turn  of 
events  which  had  gone  so  entirely  against  all 
his  calculations,  nevertheless  led  out  the  Lydi- 
ans to  battle.  In  all  Asia  there  was  not  at  that 
time  a  braver  or  more  warlike  people.  Their 
manner  of  fighting  was  on  horseback;  they  car- 
ried long  lances,  and  were  clever  in  the  man- 
agement of  their  steeds. 

80.  The  two  armies  met  in  the  plain  before 
Sardis.  It  is  a  vast  flat,  bare  of  trees,  watered 
by  the  Hyllus  and  a  number  of  other  streams, 
which  all  flow  into  one  larger  than  the  rest, 
called  the  Hcrmus.  This  river  rises  in  the  sa- 
cred mountain  of  the  Dindymenian  Mother, 
and  falls  into  the  sea  near  the  town  of  Phocaea. 

When  Cyrus  beheld  the  Lydians  arranging 
themselves  in  order  of  battle  on  this  plain, 
fearful  of  the  strength  of  their  cavalry,  he 
adopted  a  device  which  Harpagus,  one  of  the 
Medes,  suggested  to  him.  He  collected  together 
all  the  camels  that  had  come  in  the  train  of  his 
army  to  carry  the  provisions  and  the  baggage, 
and  taking  off  their  loads,  he  mounted  riders 
upon  them  accoutred  as  horsemen.  These  he 
commanded  to  advance  in  front  of  his  other 
troops  against  the  Lydian  horse;  behind  them 
were  to  follow  the  foot  soldiers,  and  last  of  all 
the  cavalry.  When  his  arrangements  were  com- 
plete, he  gave  his  troops  orders  to  slay  all  the 
other  Lydians  who  came  in  their  way  without 
mercy,  but  to  spare  Croesus  and  not  kill  him, 
even  if  he  should  be  seized  and  offer  resistance. 
The  reason  why  Cyrus  opposed  his  camels  to 
the  enemy's  horse  was  because  the  horse  has  a 
natural  dread  of  the  camel,  and  cannot  abide 
either  the  sight  or  the  smell  of  that  animal.  By 
this  stratagem  he  hoped  to  make  Croesus's 
horse  useless  to  him,  the  horse  being  what  he 
chiefly  depended  on  for  victory.  The  two  ar- 
mies then  joined  battle,  and  immediately  the 
Lydian  war-horses,  seeing  and  smelling  the 
camels,  turned  round  and  galloped  off;  and  so 
it  came  to  pass  that  all  Croesus's  hopes  with- 
ered away.  The  Lydians,  however,  behaved 
manfully.  As  soon  as  they  understood  what 
was  happening,  they  leaped  off  their  horses, 
and  engaged  with  the  Persians  on  foot.  The 


7»-84] 


THE  HISTORY 


19 


combat  was  long;  but  at  last,  after  a  great 
slaughter  on  both  sides,  the  Lydians  turned 
and  fled.  They  were  driven  within  their  walls, 
and  the  Persians  laid  siege  to  Sardis. 

81.  Thus  the  siege  began.  Meanwhile  Croe- 
sus, thinking  that  the  place  would  hold  out  no 
inconsiderable  time,  sent  off  fresh  heralds  to 
his  allies  from  the  beleaguered  town.  His  for- 
mer messengers  had  been  charged  to  bid  them 
assemble  at  Sardis  in  the  course  of  the  fifth 
month;  they  whom  he  now  sent  were  to  say 
that  he  was  already  besieged,  and  to  beseech 
them  to  come  to  his  aid  with  all  possible  speed. 
Among  his  other  allies  Croesus  did  not  omit  to 
send  to  Lacedaemon. 

82.  It  chanced,  however,  that  the  Spartans 
were  themselves  just  at  this  time  engaged  in  a 
quarrel  with  the  Argives  about  a  place  called 
Thyrea,  which  was  within  the  limits  of  Argo- 
lis,  but  had  been  seized  on  by  the  Lacedae- 
monians. Indeed,  the  whole  country  westward, 
as  far  as  Cape  Malca,  belonged  once  to  the 
Argives,  and  not  only  that  entire  tract  upon 
the  mainland,  but  also  Cythera,  and  the  other 
islands.  The  Argives  collected  troops  to  resist 
the  seizure  of  Thyrea,  but  before  any  battle 
was  fought,  the  two  parties  came  to  terms,  and 
it  was  agreed  that  three  hundred  Spartans  and 
three  hundred  Argives  should  meet  and  fight 
for  the  place,  which  should  belong  to  the  na- 
tion with  whom  the  victory  rested.  It  was  stip- 
ulated also  that  the  other  troops  on  each  side 
should  return  home  to  their  respective  coun- 
tries, and  not  remain  to  witness  the  combat,  as 
there  was  danger,  if  the  armies  stayed,  that 
cither  the  one  or  the  other,  on  seeing  their 
countrymen  undergoing  defeat,  might  hasten 
to  their  assistance.  These  terms  being  agreed 
on,  the  two  armies  marched  off,  leaving  three 
hundred  picked  men  on  each  side  to  fight  for 
the  territory.  The  battle  began,  and  so  equal 
were  the  combatants,  that  at  the  close  of  the 
day,  when  night  put  a  stop  to  the  fight,  of  the 
whole  six  hundred  only  three  men  remained 
alive,  two  Argives,  Alcanor  and  Chromius, 
and  a  single  Spartan,  Othryadas.  The  two  Ar- 
gives, regarding  themselves  as  the  victors,  hur- 
ried to  Argos.  Othryadas,  the  Spartan,  re- 
mained upon  the  field,  and,  stripping  the  bod- 
ies of  the  Argives  who  had  fallen,  carried  their 
armour  to  the  Spartan  camp.  Next  day  the  two 
armies  returned  to  learn  the  result.  At  first 
they  disputed,  both  parties  claiming  the  vic- 
tory, the  one,  because  they  had  the  greater 
number  of  survivors;  the  other,  because  their 
man  remained  on  the  field,  and  stripped  the 


bodies  of  the  slain,  whereas  the  two  men  of 
the  other  side  ran  away;  but  at  last  they  fell 
from  words  to  blows,  and  a  battle  was  fought, 
in  which  both  parties  suffered  great  loss,  but 
at  the  end  the  Lacedaemonians  gained  the  vic- 
tory. Upon  this  the  Argives,  who  up  to  that 
time  had  worn  their  hair  long,  cut  it  off 
close,  and  made  a  law,  to  which  they  attached 
a  curse,  binding  themselves  never  more  to 
let  their  hair  grow,  and  never  to  allow  their 
women  to  wear  gold,  until  they  should  recover 
Thyrea.  At  the  same  time  the  Lacedemonians 
made  a  law  the  very  reverse  of  this,  namely,  to 
wear  their  hair  long,  though  they  had  always 
before  cut  it  close.  Othryadas  himself,  it  is 
said,  the  sole  survivor  of  the  three  hundred, 
prevented  by  a  sense  of  shame  from  returning 
to  Sparta  after  all  his  comrades  had  fallen,  laid 
violent  hands  upon  himself  in  Thyrea. 

83.  Although  the  Spartans  were  engaged 
with  these  matters  when  the  herald  arrived 
from  Sardis  to  entreat  them  to  come  to  the  as- 
sistance of  the  besieged  king,  yet,  notwith- 
standing, they  instantly  set  to  work  to  afford 
him  help.  They  had  completed  their  prepara- 
tions, and  the  ships  were  just  ready  to  start, 
when  a  second  message  informed  them  that 
the  place  had  already  fallen,  and  that  Croesus 
was  a  prisoner.  Deeply  grieved  at  his  misfor- 
tune, the  Spartans  ceased  their  efforts. 

84.  The  following  is  the  way  in  which  Sar- 
dis was  taken.  On  the  fourteenth  day  of  the 
siege  Cyrus  bade  some  horsemen  ride  about  his 
lines,  and  make  proclamation  to  the  whole 
army  that  he  would  give  a  reward  to  the  man 
who  should  first  mount  the  wall.  After  this  he 
made   an  assault,  but  without  success.  His 
troops  retired,  but  a  certain  Mardian,  Hyroea- 
des  by  name,  resolved  to  approach  the  citadel 
and  attempt  it  at  a  place  where  no  guards  were 
ever  set.  On  this  side  the  rock  was  so  precipi- 
tous, and  the  citadel  (as  it  seemed)  so  impreg- 
nable, that  no  fear  was  entertained  of  its  being 
carried  in  this  place.  Here  was  the  only  portion 
of  the  circuit  round  which  their  old  king  Meles 
did  not  carry  the  lion  which  his  leman  bore  to 
him.  For  when  the  Tclmessians  had  declared 
that  if  the  lion  were  taken  round  the  defences, 
Sardis  would  be  impregnable,  and  Meles,  in 
consequence,  carried  it  round  the  rest  of  the 
fortress  where  the  citadel  seemed  open  to  at- 
tack, he  scorned  to  take  it  round  this  side, 
which  he  looked  on  as  a  sheer  precipice,  and 
therefore  absolutely  secure.  It  is  on  that  side  of 
the  city  which  faces  Mount  Tmolus.  Hyroea- 
des,  however,  having  the  day  before  observed 


20 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK 


a  Lydian  soldier  descend  the  rock  after  a  hel- 
met that  had  rolled  down  from  the  top,  and 
having  seen  him  pick  it  up  and  carry  it  back, 
thought  over  what  he  had  witnessed,  and 
formed  his  plan.  He  climbed  the  rock  himself, 
and  other  Persians  followed  in  his  track,  until  a 
large  number  had  mounted  to  the  top.  Thus  was 
Sardis  taken,  and  given  up  entirely  to  pillage. 

85.  With  respect  to  Croesus  himself,  this  is 
what  befell  him  at  the  taking  of  the  town.  He 
had  a  son,  of  whom  I  made  mention  above,  a 
worthy  youth,  whose  only  defect  was  that  he 
was  deaf  and  dumb.  In  the  days  of  his  prosper- 
ity Croesus  had  done  the  utmost  that  he  could 
for  him,  and  among  other  plans  which  he  had 
devised,  had  sent  to  Delphi  to  consult  the  ora- 
cle on  his  behalf.  The  answer  which  he  had  re- 
ceived from  the  Pythoness  ran  thus: — 

Lydian,  wide-ruling   monarch,  thou   wondrous 

simple  Croesus, 
Wish  not  ever  to  hear  in  thy  palace  the  voice  thou 

hast  prayed  for 
Uttcnng  intelligent  sounds.  Far  better  thy  son 

should  be  silent  I 
Ah!  woe  worth  the  day  when  thine  ear  shall  first 

list  to  his  accents. 

When  the  town  was  taken,  one  of  the  Per- 
sians was  just  going  to  kill  Croesus,  not  know- 
ing who  he  was.  Croesus  saw  the  man  coming, 
but  under  the  pressure  of  his  affliction,  did  not 
care  to  avoid  the  blow,  not  minding  whether 
or  no  he  died  beneath  the  stroke.  Then  this 
son  of  his,  who  was  voiceless,  beholding  the 
Persian  as  he  rushed  towards  Croesus,  in  the 
agony  of  his  fear  and  grief  burst  into  speech, 
and  said,  "Man,  do  not  kill  Croesus."  This  was 
the  first  time  that  he  had  ever  spoken  a  word, 
but  afterwards  he  retained  the  power  of  speech 
for  the  remainder  of  his  life. 

86.  Thus  was  Sardis  taken  by  the  Persians, 
and  Croesus  himself  fell  into  their  hands,  after 
having  reigned  fourteen  years,  and  been  be- 
sieged in  his  capital  fourteen  days;  thus  too  did 
Croesus  fulfill  the  oracle,  which  said  that  he 
should  destroy  a  mighty  empire — by  destroy- 
ing his  own.  Then  the  Persians  who  had  made 
Croesus  prisoner  brought  him  before  Cyrus. 
Now  a  vast  pile  had  been  raised  by  his  orders, 
and  Croesus,  laden  with  fetters,  was  placed 
upon  it,  and  with  him  twice  seven  of  the  sons 
of  the  Lydians.  I  know  not  whether  Cyrus  was 
minded  to  make  an  offering  of  the  first-fruits 
to  some  god  or  other,  or  whether  he  had  vowed 
a  vow  and  was  performing  it,  or  whether,  as 
may  well  be,  he  had  heard  that  Croesus  was  a 
holy  man,  and  so  wished  to  see  if  any  of  the 


heavenly  powers  would  appear  to  save  him 
from  being  burnt  alive.  However  it  might  be, 
Cyrus  was  thus  engaged,  and  Croesus  was  al- 
ready on  the  pile,  when  it  entered  his  mind 
in  the  depth  of  his  woe  that  there  was  a  divine 
warning  in  the  words  which  had  come  to  him 
from  the  lips  of  Solon,  "No  one  while  he  lives 
is  happy."  When  this  thought  smote  him  he 
fetched  a  long  breath,  and  breaking  his  deep 
silence,  groaned  out  aloud,  thrice  uttering  the 
name  of  Solon.  Cyrus  caught  the  sounds,  and 
bade  the  interpreters  inquire  of  Croesus  who  it 
was  he  called  on.  They  drew  near  and  asked 
him,  but  he  held  his  peace,  and  for  a  long  time 
made  no  answer  to  their  questionings,  until  at 
length,  forced  to  say  something,  he  exclaimed, 
"One  I  would  give  much  to  see  converse  with 
every  monarch."  Not  knowing  what  he  meant 
by  this  reply,  the  interpreters  begged  him  to 
explain  himself;  and  as  they  pressed  for  an  an- 
swer, and  grew  to  be  troublesome,  he  told 
them  how,  a  long  time  before,  Solon,  an  Athen- 
ian, had  come  and  seen  all  his  splendour,  and 
made  light  of  it;  and  how  whatever  he  had 
said  to  him  had  fallen  out  exactly  as  he  fore- 
showed, although  it  was  nothing  that  especial- 
ly concerned  him,  but  applied  to  all  mankind 
alike,  and  most  to  those  who  seemed  to  them- 
selves happy.  Meanwhile,  as  he  thus  spoke,  the 
pile  was  lighted,  and  the  outer  portion  began 
to  blaze.  Then  Cyrus,  hearing  from  the  inter- 
preters what  Croesus  had  said,  relented,  be- 
thinking himself  that  he  too  was  a  man,  and 
that  it  was  a  fellow-man,  and  one  who  had 
once  been  as  blessed  by  fortune  as  himself,  that 
he  was  burning  alive;  afraid,  moreover,  of  ret- 
ribution, and  full  of  the  thought  that  whatever 
is  human  is  insecure.  So  he  bade  them  quench 
the  blazing  fire  as  quickly  as  they  could,  and 
take  down  Croesus  and  the  other  Lydians, 
which  they  tried  to  do,  but  the  flames  were  not 
to  be  mastered. 

87.  Then,  the  Lydians  say  that  Croesus,  per- 
ceiving by  the  efforts  made  to  quench  the  fire 
that  Cyrus  had  relented,  and  seeing  also  that 
all  was  in  vain,  and  that  the  men  could  not  get 
the  fire  under,  called  with  a  loud  voice  upon 
the  god  Apollo,  and  prayed  him,  if  he  ever  re- 
ceived at  his  hands  any  acceptable  gift,  to  come 
to  his  aid,  and  deliver  him  from  his  present 
danger.  As  thus  with  tears  he  besought  the 
god,  suddenly,  though  up  to  that  time  the  sky 
had  been  clear  and  the  day  without  a  breath  of 
wind,  dark  clouds  gathered,  and  the  storm 
burst  over  their  heads  with  rain  of  such  vio- 
lence, that  the  flames  were  speedily  extm- 


85-91] 


THE  HISTORY 


2i 


guished.  Cyrus,  convinced  by  this  that  Croesus 
was  a  good  man  and  a  favourite  of  heaven, 
asked  him  after  he  was  taken  off  the  pile, 
"Who  it  was  that  had  persuaded  him  to  lead 
an  army  into  his  country,  and  so  become  his 
foe  rather  than  continue  his  friend?"  to  which 
Croesus  made  answer  as  follows:  "What  I  did, 
oh!  king,  was  to  thy  advantage  and  to  my  own 
loss.  If  there  be  blame,  it  rests  with  the  god  of 
the  Greeks,  who  encouraged  me  to  begin  the 
war.  No  one  is  so  foolish  as  to  prefer  war  to 
peace,  in  which,  instead  of  sons  burying  their 
fathers,  fathers  bury  their  sons.  But  the  gods 
willed  it  so." 

88.  Thus  did  Croesus  speak.  Cyrus  then  ord- 
ered his  fetters  to  be  taken  off,  and  made  him 
sit  down  near  himself,  and  paid  him  much  re- 
spect, looking  upon  him,  as  did  also  the  cour- 
tiers, with  a  sort  of  wonder.  Croesus,  wrapped 
in  thought,  uttered  no  word.  After  a  while, 
happening  to  turn  and  perceive  the  Persian 
soldiers  engaged  in  plundering  the  town,  he 
said  to  Cyrus,  "May  I  now  tell  thee,  oh!  king, 
what  I  have  in  my  mind,  or  is  silence  best?" 
Cyrus  bade  him  speak  his  mind  boldly.  Then 
he  put  this  question:  "What  is  it,  oh!  Cyrus, 
which  those  men  yonder  are  doing  so  busily?" 
"Plundering  thy  city,"  Cyrus  answered,  "and 
carrying  off  thy  riches."  "Not  my  city,"  re- 
joined the  other,  "nor  my  riches.  They  are  not 
mine  any  more.  It  is  thy  wealth  which  they  are 
pillaging." 

89.  Cyrus,  struck  by  what  Croesus  had  said, 
bade  all  the  court  to  withdraw,  and  then  asked 
Croesus  what  he  thought  it  best  for  him  to  do 
as  regarded  the  plundering.  Croesus  answered, 
"Now  that  the  gods  have  made  me  thy  slave, 
oh!  Cyrus,  it  seems  to  me  that  it  is  my  part,  if 
I  see  anything  to  thy  advantage,  to  show  it  to 
thee.  Thy  subjects,  the  Persians,  are  a  poor  peo- 
ple with  a  proud  spirit.  If  then  thou  lettest 
them  pillage  and  possess  themselves  of  great 
wealth,  I  will  tell  thee  what  thou  hast  to  expect 
at  their  hands.  The  man  who  gets  the  most, 
look  to  having  him  rebel  against  thee.  Now 
then,  if  my  words  please  thee,  do  thus,  oh! 
king: — Let  some  of  thy  bodyguards  be  placed 
as  sentinels  at  each  of  the  city  gates,  and  let 
them  take  their  booty  from  the  soldiers  as  they 
leave  the  town,  and  tell  them  that  they  do  so 
because  the  tenths  are  due  to  Jupiter.  So  wilt 
thou  escape  the  hatred  they  would  feel  if  the 
plunder  were  taken  away  from  them  by  force; 
and  they,  seeing  that  what  is  proposed  is  just, 
will  do  it  willingly." 

90.  Cyrus  was  beyond  measure  pleased  with 


this  advice,  so  excellent  did  it  seem  to  him.  He 
praised  Croesus  highly,  and  gave  orders  to  his 
bodyguard  to  do  as  he  had  suggested.  Then, 
turning  to  Croesus,  he  said,  "Oh!  Croesus,  I  see 
that  thou  are  resolved  both  in  speech  and  act 
to  show  thyself  a  virtuous  prince:  ask  me, 
therefore,  whatever  thou  wilt  as  a  gift  at  this 
moment."  Croesus  replied,  "Oh!  my  lord,  if 
thou  wilt  suffer  me  to  send  these  fetters  to  the 
god  of  the  Greeks,  whom  I  once  honoured 
above  all  other  gods,  and  ask  him  if  it  is  his 
wont  to  deceive  his  benefactors — that  will  be 
the  highest  favour  thou  canst  confer  on  me." 
Cyrus  upon  this  inquired  what  charge  he  had 
to  make  against  the  god.  Then  Croesus  gave 
him  a  full  account  of  all  his  projects,  and  ot  the 
answers  of  the  oracle,  and  of  the  offerings 
which  he  had  sent,  on  which  he  dwelt  espe- 
cially, and  told  him  how  it  was  the  encourage- 
ment given  him  by  the  oracle  which  had  led 
him  to  make  war  upon  Persia.  All  this  he  re- 
lated, and  at  the  end  again  besought  permis- 
sion to  reproach  the  god  with  his  behaviour. 
Cyrus  answered  with  a  laugh,  "This  I  readily 
grant  thee,  and  whatever  else  thou  shah  at  any 
time  ask  at  my  hands."  Croesus,  finding  his  re- 
quest allowed,  sent  certain  Lydians  to  Delphi, 
enjoining  them  to  lay  his  fetters  upon  the 
threshold  of  the  temple,  and  ask  the  god,  "If  he 
were  not  ashamed  of  having  encouraged  him, 
as  the  destined  destroyer  of  the  empire  of  Cy- 
rus, to  begin  a  war  with  Persia,  of  which  such 
were  the  first-fruits?"  As  they  said  this  they 
were  to  point  to  the  fetters;  and  further  they 
were  to  inquire,  "If  it  was  the  wont  of  the 
Greek  gods  to  be  ungrateful?" 

91.  The  Lydians  went  to  Delphi  and  de- 
livered their  message,  on  which  the  Pythoness 
is  said  to  have  replied — "It  is  not  possible  even 
for  a  god  to  escape  the  decree  of  destiny.  Croe- 
sus has  been  punished  for  the  sin  of  his  fifth 
ancestor,  who,  when  he  was  one  of  the  body- 
guard of  the  Heraclides,  joined  in  a  woman's 
fraud,  and,  slaying  his  master,  wrongfully 
seized  the  throne.  Apollo  was  anxious  that  the 
fall  of  Sardis  should  not  happen  in  the  lifetime 
of  Croesus,  but  be  delayed  to  his  son's  days;  he 
could  not,  however,  persuade  the  Fates.  All 
that  they  were  willing  to  allow  he  took  and 
gave  to  Croesus.  Let  Croesus  know  that  Apollo 
delayed  the  taking  of  Sardis  three  full  years, 
and  that  he  is  thus  a  prisoner  three  years  later 
than  was  his  destiny.  Moreover  it  was  Apollo 
who  saved  him  from  the  burning  pile.  Nor  has 
Croesus  any  right  to  complain  with  respect  to 
the  oracular  answer  which  he  received.  For 


22 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK 


when  the  god  told  him  that,  if  he  attacked  the 
Persians,  he  would  destroy  a  mighty  empire,  he 
ought,  if  he  had  been  wise,  to  have  sent  again 
and  inquired  which  empire  was  meant,  that 
of  Cyrus  or  his  own;  but  if  he  neither  under- 
stood what  was  said,  nor  took  the  trouble  to 
seek  for  enlightenment,  he  has  only  himself  to 
blame  for  the  result.  Besides,  he  had  misunder- 
stood the  last  answer  which  had  been  given 
him  about  the  mule.  Cyrus  was  that  mule.  For 
the  parents  of  Cyrus  were  of  different  races, 
and  of  different  conditions — his  mother  a 
Median  princess,  daughter  of  King  Astyages, 
and  his  father  a  Persian  and  a  subject,  who, 
though  so  far  beneath  her  in  all  respects,  had 
married  his  royal  mistress." 

Such  was  the  answer  of  the  Pythoness.  The 
Lydians  returned  to  Sardis  and  communicated 
it  to  Croesus,  who  confessed,  on  hearing  it, 
that  the  fault  was  his,  not  the  god's.  Such  was 
the  way  in  which  Ionia  was  first  conquered, 
and  so  was  the  empire  of  Crcesus  brought  to 
a  close. 

92.  Besides  the  offerings  which  have  been 
already  mentioned,  there  are  many  others  in 
various  parts  of  Greece  presented  by  Crcesus; 
as  at  Thebes  in  Bceotia,  where  there  is  a  golden 
tripod,  dedicated  by  him  to  Ismeman  Apollo; 
at  Ephesus,  where  the  golden  heifers,  and  most 
of  the  columns  are  his  gift;  and  at  Delphi,  in 
the  temple  of  Pronaia,  where  there  is  a  huge 
shield  in  gold,  which  he  gave.  All  these  offer- 
ings were  still  in  existence  in  my  day;  many 
others  have  perished:  among  them  those  which 
he  dedicated  at  Branchida;  in  Milesia,  equal 
in  weight,  as  I  am  informed,  and  in  all  respects 
like  to  those  at  Delphi.  The  Delphian  presents, 
and  those  sent  to  Amphiaraiis,  came  from  his 
own  private  property,  being  the  first-iruits  of 
the  fortune  which  he  inherited  from  his  father; 
his  other  offerings  came  from  the  riches  of  an 
enemy,  who,  before  he  mounted  the  throne, 
headed  a  party  against  him,  with  the  view  of 
obtaining  the  crown  of  Lydia  for  Pantaleon. 
This  Pantaleon  was  a  son  of  Alyattes,  but  by 
a   different    mother   from   Croesus;    for  the 
mother  of  Croesus  was  a  Carian  woman,  but 
the  mother  of  Pantaleon  an  Ionian.  When,  by 
the  appointment  of  his  father,  Croesus  ob- 
tained the  kingly  dignity,  he  seized  the  man 
who  had  plotted  against  him,  and  broke  him 
upon  the  wheel.  His  property,  which  he  had 
previously  devoted  to  the  service  of  the  gods, 
Crcesus  applied  in  the  way  mentioned  above. 
This  is  all  I  shall  say  about  his  offerings. 

93.  Lydia,   unlike   most   other  countries, 


scarcely  offers  any  wonders  for  the  historian  to 
describe,  except  the  gold-dust  which  is  washed 
down  from  the  range  of  Tmolus.  It  has,  how- 
ever, one  structure  of  enormous  size,  only  in- 
ferior to  the  monuments  of  Egypt  and  Baby- 
lon. This  is  the  tomb  of  Alyattes,  the  father  of 
Crcesus,  the  base  of  which  is  formed  of  im- 
mense blocks  of  stone,  the  rest  being  a  vast 
mound  of  earth.  It  was  raised  by  the  joint  la- 
bour of  the  tradesmen,  handicraftsmen,  and 
courtesans  of  Sardis,  and  had  at  the  top  five 
stone  pillars,  which  remained  to  my  day,  with 
inscriptions  cut  on  them,  showing  how  much 
of  the  work  was  done  by  each  class  of  work- 
people. It  appeared  on  measurement  that  the 
portion  of  the  courtesans  was  the  largest.  The 
daughters  of  the  common  people  in  Lydia,  one 
and  all,  pursue  this  traffic,  wishing  to  collect 
money  for  their  portions.  They  continue  the 
practice  till  they  marry;  and  are  wont  to  con- 
tract themselves  in  marriage.  The  tomb  is  six 
stades  and  two  plethra  in  circumference;  its 
breadth  is  thirteen  plethra.  Close  to  the  tomb 
is  a  large  lake,  which  the  Lydians  say  is  never 
dry.  They  call  it  the  Lake  Gygaca. 

94.  The  Lydians  have  very  nearly  the  same 
customs  as  the  Greeks,  with  the  exception  that 
these  last  do  not  bring  up  their  girls  in  the  same 
way.  So  far  as  we  have  any  knowledge,  they 
were  the  first  nation  to  introduce  the  use  of 
gold  and  silver  coin,  and  the  first  who  sold 
goods  by  retail.  They  claim  also  the  invention 
of  all  the  games  which  are  common  to  them 
with  the  Greeks.  These  they  declare  that  they 
invented  about  the  time  when  they  colonised 
Tyrrhema,  an  event  of  which  they  give  the 
following  account.  In  the  days  of  Atys,  the  son 
of  Manes,  there  was  great  scarcity  through  the 
whole  land  of  Lydia.  For  some  time  the  Lyd- 
ians bore  the  affliction  patiently,  but  finding 
that  it  did  not  pass  away,  they  set  to  work  to 
devise  remedies  for  the  evil.  Various  expedi- 
ents were  discovered  by  various  persons;  dice, 
and  huckle-bones,  and  ball,  and  all  such  games 
were  invented,  except  tables,  the  invention  of 
which  they  do  not  claim  as  theirs.  The  plan 
adopted  against  the  famine  was  to  engage  in 
games  one  day  so  entirely  as  not  to  feel  any 
craving  for  food,  and  the  next  day  to  eat  and 
abstain  from  games.  In  this  way  they  passed 
eighteen  years.  Still  the  affliction  continued 
and  even  became  more  grievous.  So  the  king 
determined  to  divide  the  nation  in  half,  and  to 
make  the  two  portions  draw  lots,  the  one  to 
stay,  the  other  to  leave  the  land.  He  would 
continue  to  reign  over  those  whose  lot  it  should 


92-98] 


THE  HISTORY 


23 


be  to  remain  behind;  the  emigrants  should 
have  his  son  Tyrrhenus  for  their  leader.  The 
lot  was  cast,  and  they  who  had  to  emigrate 
went  down  to  Smyrna,  and  built  themselves 
ships,  in  which,  after  they  had  put  on  board  all 
needful  stores,  they  sailed  away  in  search  of 
new  homes  and  better  sustenance.  After  sailing 
past  many  countries  they  came  to  Umbna, 
where  they  built  cities  for  themselves,  and  fixed 
their  residence.  Their  former  name  of  Lydians 
they  laid  aside,  and  called  themselves  after  the 
name  of  the  king's  son,  who  led  the  colony, 
Tyrrhenians. 

95.  Thus  far  I  have  been  engaged  in  show- 
ing how  the  Lydians  were  brought  under  the 
Persian  yoke.  The  course  of  my  history  now 
compels  me  to  inquire  who  this  Cyrus  was  by 
whom  the  Lydian  empire  was  destroyed,  and 
by  what  means  the  Persians  had  become  the 
lords  paramount  of  Asia.  And  herein  I  shall 
follow  those  Persian  authorities  whose  object 
it  appears  to  be  not  to  magnify  the  exploits  of 
Cyrus,  but  to  relate  the  simple  truth.  I  know 
besides  three  ways  m  which  the  story  of  Cyrus 
is  told,  all  differing  from  my  own  narrative. 

The  Assyrians  had  held  the  Empire  of  Up- 
per Asia  for  the  space  of  five  hundred  and 
twenty  years,  when  the  Medes  set  the  example 
of  revolt  from  their  authority.  They  took  arms 
for  the  recovery  of  their  freedom,  and  fought 
a  battle  with  the  Assyrians,  in  which  they  be- 
haved with  such  gallantry  as  to  shake  off  the 
yoke  of  servitude,  and  to  become  a  free  people. 
Upon  their  success  the  other  nations  also  re- 
volted and  regained  their  independence. 

96.  Thus  the  nations  over  that  whole  extent 
of  country  obtained  the  blessing  of  self-gov- 
ernment, but  they  fell  again  under  the  sway  of 
kings,  in  the  manner  which  I  will  now  relate. 
There  was  a  certain  Mede  named  Deioces,  son 
of  Phraortes,  a  man  of  much  wisdom,  who  had 
conceived  the  desire  of  obtaining  to  himself  the 
sovereign  power.  In  furtherance  of  his  ambi- 
tion, therefore,  he  formed  and  carried  into  ex- 
ecution the  following  scheme.  As  the  Medes  at 
that  time  dwelt  in  scattered  villages  without 
any  central  authority,  and  lawlessness  in  con- 
sequence prevailed  throughout  the  land,  Deio- 
ces, who  was  already  a  man  of  mark  in  his 
own  village,  applied  himself  with  greater  zeal 
and  earnestness  than  ever  before  to  the  practice 
of  justice  among  his  fellows.  It  was  his  con- 
viction that  justice  and  injustice  are  engaged  in 
perpetual  war  with  one  another.  He  therefore 
began  his  course  of  conduct,  and  presently  the 
men  of  his  village,  observing  his  integrity, 


chose  him  to  be  the  arbiter  of  all  their  disputes. 
Bent  on  obtaining  the  sovereign  power,  he 
showed  himself  an  honest  and  an  upright 
judge,  and  by  these  means  gained  such  credit 
with  his  fellow-citizens  as  to  attract  the  atten- 
tion of  those  who  lived  in  the  surrounding  vil- 
lages. They  had  long  been  suffering  from  un- 
just and  oppressive  judgments;  so  that,  when 
they  heard  of  the  singular  uprightness  of  Deio- 
ces, and  of  the  equity  of  his  decisions,  they  joy- 
fully had  recourse  to  him  in  the  various  quar- 
rels and  suits  that  arose,  until  at  last  they  came 
to  put  confidence  in  no  one  else. 

97.  The  number  of  complaints  brought  be- 
fore  him   continually    increasing,   as   people 
learnt  more  and  more  the  fairness  of  his  judg- 
ments, Deioces,  feeling  himself  now  all  impor- 
tant, announced  that  he  did  not  intend  any 
longer  to  hear  causes,  and  appeared  no  more 
in  the  seat  in  which  he  had  been  accustomed 
to  sit  and  administer  justice.  "It  did  not  square 
with  his   interests,"  he  said,  "to  spend  the 
whole  day  in  regulating  other  men's  affairs  to 
the  neglect  of  his  own."  Hereupon  robbery  and 
lawlessness  broke  out  afresh,  and  prevailed 
through  the  country  even  more  than  hereto- 
fore; wherefore  the  Medes  assembled  from  all 
quarters,  and  held  a  consultation  on  the  state 
of  affairs.  The  speakers,  as  I  think,  were  chiefly 
friends  of  Deioces.  "We  cannot  possibly,"  they 
said,  "go  on  living  in  this  country  if  things 
continue  as  they  now  are;  let  us  therefore  set  a 
king  over  us,  that  so  the  land  may  be  well  gov- 
erned, and  we  ourselves  may  be  able  to  attend 
to  our  own  affairs,  and  not  be  forced  to  quit 
our  country  on  account  of  anarchy."  The  as- 
sembly was  persuaded  by  these  arguments,  and 
resolved  to  appoint  a  king. 

98.  It  followed  to  determine  who  should  be 
chosen  to  the  office.  When  this  debate  began 
the  claims  of  Deioces  and  his  praises  were  at 
once  in  every  mouth;  so  that  presently  all 
agreed  that  he  should  be  king.  Upon  this  he 
required  a  palace  to  be  built  for  him  suitable 
to  his  rank,  and  a  guard  to  be  given  him  for 
his  person.  The  Medes  complied,  and  built  him 
a  strong  and  large  palace,  on  a  spot  which  he 
himself  pointed  out,  and  likewise  gave  him 
liberty  to  choose  himself  a  bodyguard  from  the 
whole  nation.  Thus  settled  upon  the  throne,  he 
further  required  them  to  build  a  single  great 
city,  and,  disregarding  the   petty  towns  in 
which  they  had  formerly  dwelt,  make  the  new 
capital  the  object  of  their  chief  attention.  The 
Medes  were  again  obedient,  and  built  the  city 
now  called  Agbatana,  the  walls  of  which  are  of 


24 


HERODOTUS 


[  BOOK  i 


great  size  and  strength,  rising  in  circles  one 
within  the  other.  The  plan  of  the  place  is  that 
each  of  the  walls  should  out-top  the  one  be- 
yond it  by  the  battlements.  The  nature  of  the 
ground,  which  is  a  gentle  hill,  favours  this  ar- 
rangement in  some  degree,  but  it  was  mainly 
effected  by  art.  The  number  of  the  circles  is 
seven,  the  royal  palace  and  the  treasuries  stand- 
ing within  the  last.  The  circuit  of  the  outer 
wall  is  very  nearly  the  same  with  that  of  Ath- 
ens. Of  this  wall  the  battlements  are  white,  of 
the  next  black,  of  the  third  scarlet,  of  the  fourth 
blue,  of  the  fifth  orange;  all  these  are  coloured 
with  paint.  The  two  last  have  their  battlements 
coated  respectively  with  silver  and  gold. 

99.  All  these  fortifications  Deioces  caused  to 
be  raised  for  himself  and  his  own  palace.  The 
people  were  required  to  build  their  dwellings 
outside  the  circuit  of  the  walls.  When  the  town 
was  finished,  he  proceeded  to  arrange  the  cere- 
monial. He  allowed  no  one  to  have  direct  ac- 
cess to  the  person  of  the  king,  but  made  all 
communication  pass  through  the  hands  of  mes- 
sengers, and  forbade  the  king  to  be  seen  by  his 
subjects.  He  also  made  it  an  offence  for  any  one 
whatsoever  to  laugh  or  spit  in  the  royal  pres- 
ence. This  ceremonial,  of  which  he  was  the 
first  inventor,  Deioces  established  tor  his  own 
security,  fearing  that  his  compeers,  who  were 
brought  up  together  with  him,  and  were  of  as 
good  family  as  he,  and  no  whit  inferior  to  him 
in  manly  qualities,  if  they  saw  him  frequently 
would  be  pained  at  the  sight,  and  would  there- 
fore be  likely  to  conspire  against  him;  whereas 
if  they  did  not  see  him,  they  would  think  him 
quite  a  different  sort  of  being  from  themselves. 

joo.  After  completing  these  arrangements, 
and  firmly  settling  himself  upon  the  throne, 
Deioces  continued  to  administer  justice  with 
the  same  strictness  as  before.  Causes  were  stat- 
ed in  writing,  and  sent  in  to  the  king,  who 
passed  his  judgment  upon  the  contents,  and 
transmitted  his  decisions  to  the  parties  con- 
cerned: besides  which  he  had  spies  and  eaves- 
droppers in  all  parts  of  his  dominions,  and  if  he 
heard  ot  any  act  of  oppression,  he  sent  for  the 
guilty  party,  and  awarded  him  the  punishment 
meet  for  his  offence. 

101.  Thus  Deioces  collected  the  Medes  into 
a  nation,  and  ruled  over  them  alone.  Now  these 
are  the  tribes  of  which  they  consist:  the  Busae, 
the  Paretacem,  the  Struchates,  the  Arizanti,  the 
Budii,  and  the  Magi. 

102.  Having  reigned  three-and-fifty  years, 
Deioces  was  at  his  death  succeeded  by  his  son 
Phraortes.  This  prince,  not  satisfied  with  a  do- 


minion which  did  not  extend  beyond  the  single 
nation  of  the  Medes,  began  by  attacking  the 
Persians;  and  marching  an  army  into  their 
country,  brought  them  under  the  Median  yoke 
before  any  other  people.  After  this  success,  be- 
ing now  at  the  head  of  two  nations,  both  of 
them  powerful,  he  proceeded  to  conquer  Asia, 
overrunning  province  after  province.  At  last 
he  engaged  in  war  with  the  Assyrians — those 
Assyrians,  I  mean,  to  whom  Nineveh  belonged, 
who  were  formerly  the  lords  of  Asia.  At  pres- 
ent they  stood  alone  by  the  revolt  and  desertion 
of  their  allies,  yet  still  their  internal  condition 
was  as  flourishing  as  ever.  Phraortes  attacked 
them,  but  perished  in  the  expedition  with  the 
greater  part  of  his  army,  after  having  reigned 
over  the  Medes  two-and-twenty  years. 

103.  On  the  death  of  Phraortes  his  son  Cy- 
axares  ascended  the  throne.  Of  him  it  is  report- 
ed that  he  was  still  more  war-like  than  any  of 
his  ancestors,  and  that  he  was  the  first  who 
gave  organisation  to  an  Asiatic  army,  dividing 
the  troops  into  companies,  and  forming  dis- 
tinct bodies  of  the  spearmen,  the  archers,  and 
the  cavalry,  who  before  his  time  had  been  min- 
gled in  one  mass,  and  confused  together.  He  it 
was  who  fought  against  the  Lydians  on  the  oc- 
casion when  the  day  was  changed  suddenly 
into  night,  and  who  brought  under  his  domin- 
ion the  whole  of  Asia  beyond  the  Halys.  This 
prince,    collecting    together    all    the    nations 
which  owned  his  sway,  marched  against  Nine- 
veh, resolved  to  avenge  his  father,  and  cherish- 
ing a  hope  that  he  might  succeed  in  taking  the 
town.  A  battle  was  fought,  in  which  the  Assyr- 
ians suffered  a  defeat,  and  Cyaxares  had  al- 
ready begun  the  siege  of  the  place,  when  a  nu- 
merous horde  of  Scyths,  under  their  king  Mad- 
yes,  son  of  Prtotohyes,  burst  into  Asia  in  pursuit 
of  the  Cimmerians  whom  they  had  driven  out 
of  Europe,  and  entered  the  Median  territory. 

104.  The  distance  from  the  Palus  Maeotis  to 
the  river  Phasis  and  the  Colchians  is  thirty 
days'  journey  for  a  lightly-equipped  traveller. 
From  Colchis  to  cross  into  Media  does  not  take 
long — there  is  only  a  single  intervening  nation, 
the  Saspinans,  passing  whom  you  find  your- 
self in  Media.  This  however  was  not  the  road 
followed  by  the  Scythians,  who  turned  out  of 
the  straight  course,  and  took  the  upper  route, 
which  is  much  longer,  keeping  the  Caucasus 
upon  their  right.  The  Scythians,  having  thus 
invaded  Media,  were  opposed  by  the  Medes, 
who  gave  them  battle,  but,  being  defeated,  lost 
their  empire.  The  Scythians  became  masters 
of  Asia. 


99-109] 


THE  HISTORY 


25 


105.  After  this  they  marched  forward  with 
the  design  of  invading  Egypt.  When  they  had 
reached  Palestine,  however,  Psammetichus  the 
Egyptian  king  met  them  with  gifts  and  pray- 
ers, and  prevailed  on  them  to  advance  no  fur- 
ther. On  their  return,  passing  through  Asca- 
lon,  a  city  of  Syria,  the  greater  part  of  them 
went  their  way  without  doing  any  damage; 
but  some  few  who  lagged  behind  pillaged  the 
temple  of  Celestial  Venus.  I  have  inquired  and 
find  that  the  temple  at  Ascalon  is  the  most  an- 
cient of  all  the  temples  to  this  goddess;  for  the 
one  in  Cyprus,  as  the  Cyprians  themselves  ad- 
mit, was  built  in  imitation  of  it;  and  that  in 
Cythera  was  erected  by  the  Phoenicians,  who 
belong  to  this  part  of  Syria.  The  Scythians  who 
plundered  the  temple  were  punished  by  the 
goddess  with  the  female  sickness,  which  still 
attaches  to  their  posterity.  They  themselves 
confess  that  they  are  afflicted  with  the  disease 
for  this  reason,  and  travellers  who  visit  Scythia 
can  see  what  sort  of  a  disease  it  is.  Those  who 
suffer  from  it  are  called  Enarees. 

106.  The  dominion  of  the  Scythians  over 
Asia   lasted    eight-and-twenty    years,    during 
which   time  their   insolence  and   oppression 
spread  ruin  on  every  side.  For  besides  the  regu- 
lar tribute,  they  exacted  from  the  several  na- 
tions additional  imposts,  which  they  fixed  at 
pleasure;  and  further,  they  scoured  the  country 
and  plundered  every  one  of  whatever  they 
could.  At  length  Cyaxares  and  the  Medes  in- 
vited the  greater  part  of  them  to  a  banquet,  and 
made  them  drunk  with  wine,  after  which  they 
were  all  massacred.  The  Medes  then  recovered 
their  empire,  and  had  the  same  extent  of  do- 
minion as  before.  They  took  Nineveh — I  will 
relate  how  in  another  history — and  conquered 
all  Assyria  except  the  district  of  Babylonia.  Aft- 
er this  Cyaxares  died,  having  reigned  over  the 
Medes,  if  we  include  the  time  of  the  Scythian 
rule,  forty  years. 

107.  Astyages,  the  son  of  Cyaxares,  succeed- 
ed to  the  throne.  He  had  a  daughter  who  was 
named  Mandane  concerning  whom  he  had  a 
wonderful  dream.  He  dreamt  that  from  her 
such  a  stream  of  water  flowed  forth  as  not  only 
to  fill  his  capital,  but  to  flood  the  whole  of 
Asia.  This  vision  he  laid  before  such  of  the 
Magi  as  had  the  gift  of  interpreting  dreams, 
who  expounded  its  meaning  to  him  in  full, 
whereat  he  was  greatly  terrified.  On  this  ac- 
count, when  his  daughter, was  now  of  ripe  age, 
he  would  not  give  her  in  marriage  to  any  of 
the  Medes  who  were  of  suitable  rank,  lest  the 
dream  should  be  accomplished;  but  he  married 


her  to  a  Persian  of  good  family  indeed,  but  of 
a  quiet  temper,  whom  he  looked  on  as  much 
inferior  to  a  Mede  of  even  middle  condition. 

1 08.  Thus  Cambyses  (for  so  was  the  Persian 
called)  wedded  Mandane*,  and  took  her  to  his 
home,  after  which,  in  the  very  first  year,  Asty- 
ages saw  another  vision.  He  fancied  that  a 
vine  grew  from  the  womb  of  his  daughter,  and 
overshadowed  the  whole  of  Asia.  After  this 
dream,  which  he  submitted  also  to  the  inter- 
preters, he  sent  to  Persia  and  fetched  away 
Mandane,  who  was  now  with  child,  and  was 
not  far  from  her  time.  On  her  arrival  he  set  a 
watch  over  her,  intending  to  destroy  the  child 
to  which  she  should  give  birth;  for  the  Magian 
interpreters  had  expounded  the  vision  to  fore- 
show that  the  offspring  of  his  daughter  would 
reign  over  Asia  in  his  stead.  To  guard  against 
this,  Astyages,  as  soon  as  Cyrus  was  born,  sent 
for  Harpagus,  a  man  of  his  own  house  and  the 
most  faithful  of  the  Medes,  to  whom  he  was 
wont  to  entrust  all  his  affairs,  and  addressed 
him  thus — "Harpagus,  I  beseech  thce  neglect 
not  the  business  with  which  I  am  about  to 
charge  thee;  neither  betray  thou  the  interests  of 
thy  lord  for  others'  sake,  lest  thou  bring  de- 
struction on  thine  own  head  at  some  future 
time.  Take  the  child  born  of  Mandane  my 
daughter;  carry  him  with  thee  to  thy  home 
and  slay  him  there.  Then  bury  him  as  thou 
wilt."  "Oh!  king/'  replied  the  other,  "never  in 
time  past  did  Harpagus  disoblige  thee  in  any- 
thing, and  be  sure  that  through  all  future  time 
he  will  be  careful  in  nothing  to  offend.  If  there- 
fore it  be  thy  will  that  this  thing  be  done,  it  is 
for  me  to  serve  thee  with  all  diligence." 

109.  When  Harpagus  had  thus  answered, 
the  child  was  given  into  his  hands,  clothed  in 
the  garb  of  death,  and  he  hastened  weeping  to 
his  home.  There  on  his  arrival  he  found  his 
wife,  to  whom  he  told  all  that  Astyages  had 
said.  "What  then,"  said  she,  "is  it  now  in  thy 
heart  to  do?"  "Not  what  Astyages  requires," 
he  answered;  "no,  he  may  be  madder  and  more 
frantic  still  than  he  is  now,  but  I  will  not  be 
the  man  to  work  his  will,  or  lend  a  helping 
hand  to  such  a  murder  as  this.  Many  things 
forbid  my  slaying  him.  In  the  first  place  the 
boy  is  my  own  kith  and  km;  and  next  Astyages 
is  old,  and  has  no  son.  If  then  when  he  dies  the 
crown  should  go  to  his  daughter — that  daugh- 
ter whose  child  he  now  wishes  to  slay  by  my 
hand — what  remains  for  me  but  danger  of  the 
fearfullest  kind?  For  my  own  safety,  indeed, 
the  child  must  die;  but  some  one  belonging  to 
Astyages  must  take  his  life,  not  I  or  mine." 


26 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK  i 


1 10.  So  saying  he  sent  off  a  messenger  to 
fetch  a  certain  Mitradates,  one  of  the  herdsmen 
of  Astyages,  whose  pasturages  he  knew  to  be 
the  fittest  for  his  purpose,  lying  as  they  did 
among  mountains  infested  with  wild  beasts. 
This  man  was  married  to  one  of  the  king's  fe- 
male slaves,  whose  Median  name  was  Spaco, 
which  is  in  Greek  Cyno,  since  in  the  Median 
tongue  the  word  "Spaca"  means  a  bitch.  The 
mountains,  on  the  skirts  of  which  his  cattle 
grazed,  lie  to  the  north  of  Agbatana,  towards 
the  Euxine.  That  part  of  Media  which  borders 
on  the  Saspinans  is  an  elevated  tract,  very 
mountainous,  and  covered  with  torests,  while 
the  rest  of  the  Median  territory  is  entirely  level 
ground.  On  the  arrival  of  the  herdsman,  who 
came  at  the  hasty  summons,  Harpagus  said  to 
him — "Astyages  requires  thce  to  take  this  child 
and  lay  him  in  the  wildest  part  of  the  hills, 
where  he  will  be  sure  to  die  speedily.  And  he 
bade  me  tell  thee,  that  if  thou  dost  not  kill  the 
boy,  but  anyhow  allowest  him  to  escape,  he 
will  put  thee  to  the  most  painful  of  deaths.  I 
myself  am  appointed  to  see  the  child  exposed." 

in.  The  herdsman  on  hearing  this  took  the 
child  in  his  arms,  and  went  back  the  way  he 
had  come  till  he  reached  the  folds.  There,  prov- 
identially, his  wife,  who  had  been  expecting 
daily  to  be  put  to  bed,  had  just,  during  the  ab- 
sence of  her  husband,  been  delivered  of  a  child. 
Both  the  herdsman  and  his  wife  were  uneasy 
on  each  other's  account,  the  former  fearful  be- 
cause his  wife  was  so  near  her  time,  the  woman 
alarmed  because  it  was  a  new  thing  for  her 
husband  to  be  sent  for  by  Harpagus.  When 
therefore  he  came  into  the  house  upon  his  re- 
turn, his  wife,  seeing  him  arrive  so  unexpected- 
ly, was  the  first  to  speak,  and  begged  to  know 
why  Harpagus  had  sent  for  him  in  such  a  hur- 
ry. "Wife,"  said  he,  "when  I  got  to  the  town  I 
saw  and  heard  such  things  as  I  would  to  heaven 
I  had  never  seen — such  things  as  I  would  to 
heaven  had  never  happened  to  our  masters. 
Every  one  was  weeping  in  Harpagus's  house. 
It  quite  frightened  me,  but  I  went  in.  The  mo- 
ment I  stepped  inside,  what  should  I  see  but  a 
baby  lying  on  the  floor,  panting  and  whimper- 
ing, and  all  covered  with  gold,  and  wrapped  in 
clothes  of  such  beautiful  colours.  Harpagus 
saw  me,  and  directly  ordered  me  to  take  the 
child  in  my  arms  and  carry  him  off,  and  what 
was  I  to  do  with  him,  think  you?  Why,  to  lay 
him  in  the  mountains,  where  the  wild  beasts 
are  most  plentiful.  And  he  told  me  it  was  the 
king  himself  that  ordered  it  to  be  done,  and  he 
threatened  me  with  such  dreadful  things  if  I 


failed.  So  I  took  the  child  up  in  my  arms,  and 
carried  him  along.  I  thought  it  might  be  the 
son  of  one  of  the  household  slaves.  I  did  won- 
der certainly  to  see  the  gold  and  the  beautiful 
baby-clothes,  and  I  could  not  think  why  there 
was  such  a  weeping  in  Harpagus's  house. 
Well,  very  soon,  as  I  came  along,  I  got  at  the 
truth.  They  sent  a  servant  with  me  to  show  me 
the  way  out  of  the  town,  and  to  leave  the  baby 
in  my  hands;  and  he  told  me  that  the  child's 
mother  is  the  king's  daughter  Mandane,  and 
his  father  Cambyses,  the  son  of  Cyrus;  and  that 
the  king  orders  him  to  be  killed;  and  look,  here 
the  child  is." 

112.  With  this  the  herdsman  uncovered  the 
infant,  and  showed  him  to  his  wife,  who,  when 
she  saw  him,  and  observed  how  fine  a  child 
and  how  beautiful  he  was,  burst  into  tears,  and 
clinging  to  the  knees  of  her  husband,  besought 
him  on  no  account  to  expose  the  babe;  to 
which  he  answered,  that  it  was  not  possible  for 
him  to  do  otherwise,  as  Harpagus  would  be 
sure  to  send  persons  to  see  and  report  to  him, 
and  he  was  to  suffer  a  most  cruel  death  if  he 
disobeyed.  Failing  thus  in  her  first  attempt  to 
persuade  her  husband,  the  woman  spoke  a  sec- 
ond time,  saying,  "If  then  there  is  no  persuad- 
ing thee,  and  a  child  must  needs  be  seen  ex- 
posed upon  the  mountains,  at  least  do  thus. 
The  child  of  which  I  have  just  been  delivered 
is  stillborn;  take  it  and  lay  it  on  the  hills,  and 
let  us  bring  up  as  our  own  the  child  of  the 
daughter  of  Astyages.  So  shalt  thou  not  be 
charged  with  unfaithfulness  to  thy  lord,  nor 
shall  we  have  managed  badly  for  ourselves. 
Our  dead  babe  will  have  a  royal  funeral,  and 
this  living  child  will  not  be  deprived  of  life." 

113.  It  seemed  to  the  herdsman  that  this  ad- 
vice was  the  best  under  the  circumstances.  He 
therefore  followed  it  without  loss  of  time.  The 
child  which  he  had  intended  to  put  to  death  he 
gave  over  to  his  wife,  and  his  own  dead  child 
he  put  in  the  cradle  wherein  he  had  carried 
the  other,  clothing  it  first  in  all  the  other's  cost- 
ly attire,  and  taking  it  in  his  arms  he  laid  it  in 
the  wildest  place  of  all  the  mountain-range. 
When  the  child  had  been  three  days  exposed, 
leaving  one  of  his  helpers  to  watch  the  body, 
he  started  off  for  the  city,  and  going  straight  to 
Harpagus's  house,  declared  himself  ready  to 
show  the  corpse  of  the  boy.  Harpagus  sent  cer- 
tain of  his  bodyguard,  on  whom  he  had  the 
firmest  reliance,  to  view  the  body  for  him,  and, 
satisfied  with  their  seeing  it,  gave  orders  for 
the  funeral.  Thus  was  the  herdsman's  child 
buried,  and  the  other  child,  who  was  after- 


1 10-117] 

wards  known  by  the  name  of  Cyrus,  was  taken 
by  the  herdsman's  wife,  and  brought  up  under 
a  different  name. 

1 14.  When  the  boy  was  in  his  tenth  year,  an 
accident  which  I  will  now  relate,  caused  it  to 
be  discovered  who  he  was.  He  was  at  play  one 
day  in  the  village  where  the  folds  of  the  cattle 
were,  along  with  the  boys  of  his  own  age,  in 
the  street.  The  other  boys  who  were  playing 
with  him  chose  the  cowherd's  son,  as  he  was 
called,  to  be  their  king.  He  then  proceeded  to 
order  them  about — some  he  set  to  build  him 
houses,  others  he  made  his  guards,  one  of  them 
was  to  be  the  king's  eye,  another  had  the  office 
of  carrying  his  messages;  all  had  some  task  or 
other.  Among  the  boys  there  was  one,  the  son 
of  Artembares,  a  Mede  of  distinction,  who  re- 
fused to  do  what  Cyrus  had  set  him.  Cyrus 
told  the  other  boys  to  take  him  into  custody, 
and  when  his  orders  were  obeyed,  he  chastised 
him  most  severely  with  the  whip.  The  son  of 
Artembares,  as  soon  as  he  was  let  go,  full  of 
rage  at  treatment  so  little  befitting  his  rank, 
hastened  to  the  city  and  complained  bitterly  to 
his  father  of  what  had  been  done  to  him  by 
Cyrus.  He  did  not,  of  course,  say  "Cyrus,"  by 
which  name  the  boy  was  not  yet  known,  but 
called  him  the  son  of  the  king's  cowherd.  Ar- 
tembares, in  the  heat  of  his  passion,  went  to 
Astyages,  accompanied  by  his  son,  and  made 
complaint  of  the  gross  injury  which  had  been 
done  him.  Pointing  to  the  boy's  shoulders,  he 
exclaimed,  "Thus,  oh!  king,  has  thy  slave,  the 
son  of  a  cowherd,  heaped  insult  upon  us." 

115.  At  this  sight  and  these  words  Astyages, 
wishing  to  avenge  the  son  of  Artembares  for 
his  father's  sake,  sent  for  the  cowherd  and  his 
boy.  When  they  came  together  into  his  pres- 
ence, fixing  his  eyes  on  Cyrus,  Astyages  said, 
"Hast  thou  then,  the  son  of  so  mean  a  fellow 
as  that,  dared  to  behave  thus  rudely  to  the  son 
of  yonder  noble,  one  of  the  first  in  my  court?" 
"My  lord,"  replied  the  boy,  "I  only  treated  him 
as  he  deserved.  I  was  chosen  king  in  play  by 
the  boys  of  our  village,  because  they  thought 
me  the  best  for  it.  He  himself  was  one  of  the 
boys  who  chose  me.  All  the  others  did  accord- 
ing to  my  orders;  but  he  refused,  and  made 
light  of  them,  until  at  last  he  got  his  due  re- 
ward. If  for  this  I  deserve  to  suffer  punishment, 
here  I  am  ready  to  submit  to  it." 

116.  While  the  boy  was  yet  speaking  Asty- 
ages was  struck  with  a  suspicion  who  he  was. 
He  thought  he  saw  something  in  the  character 
of  his  face  like  his  own,  and  there  was  a  noble- 
ness about  the  answer  he  had  made;  besides 


THE  HISTORY 


27 


which  his  age  seemed  to  tally  with  the  time 
when  his  grandchild  was  exposed.  Astonished 
at  all  this,  Astyages  could  not  speak  for  a  while. 
At  last,  recovering  himself  with  difficulty,  and 
wishing  to  be  quit  of  Artembares,  that  he 
might  examine  the  herdsman  alone,  he  said  to 
the  former,  "I  promise  thee,  Artembares,  so  to 
settle  this  business  that  neither  thou  nor  thy 
son  shall  have  any  cause  to  complain."  Artem- 
bares retired  from  his  presence,  and  the  at- 
tendants, at  the  bidding  of  the  king,  led  Cyrus 
into  an  inner  apartment.  Astyages  then  being 
left  alone  with  the  herdsman,  inquired  of  him 
where  he  had  got  the  boy,  and  who  had  given 
him  to  him;  to  which  he  made  answer  that  the 
lad  was  his  own  child,  begotten  by  himself, 
and  that  the  mother  who  bore  him  was  still 
alive  with  him  in  his  house.  Astyages  re- 
marked that  he  was  very  ill-advised  to  bring 
himself  into  such  great  trouble,  and  at  the 
same  time  signed  to  his  bodyguard  to  lay  hold 
of  him.  Then  the  herdsman,  as  they  were  drag- 
ging him  to  the  rack,  began  at  the  beginning, 
and  told  the  whole  story  exactly  as  it  happened, 
without  concealing  anything,  ending  with  en- 
treaties and  prayers  to  the  king  to  grant  him 
forgiveness. 

117.  Astyages,  having  got  the  truth  of  the 
matter  from  the  herdsman,  was  very  little  fur- 
ther concerned  about  him,  but  with  Harpagus 
he  was  exceedingly  enraged.  The  guards  were 
bidden  to  summon  him  into  the  presence,  and 
on  his  appearance  Astyages  asked  him,  "By 
what  death  was  it,  Harpagus,  that  thou  slewest 
the  child  of  my  daughter  whom  I  gave  into  thy 
hands?"  Harpagus,  seeing  the  cowherd  in  the 
room,  did  not  betake  himself  to  lies,  lest  he 
should  be  confuted  and  proved  false,  but  re- 
plied as  follows: — "Sire,  when  thou  gavest  the 
child  into  my  hands  I  instantly  considered  with 
myself  how  I  could  contrive  to  execute  thy 
wishes,  and  yet,  while  guiltless  of  any  unfaith- 
fulness towards  thee,  avoid  imbruing  my 
hands  in  blood  which  was  in  truth  thy  daugh- 
ter's and  thine  own.  And  this  was  how  I  con- 
trived it.  I  sent  for  this  cowherd,  and  gave  the 
child  over  to  him,  telling  him  that  by  the  king's 
orders  it  was  to  be  put  to  death.  And  in  this  I 
told  no  lie,  for  thou  hadst  so  commanded. 
Moreover,  when  I  gave  him  the  child,  I  en- 
joined him  to  lay  it  somewhere  in  the  wilds  of 
the  mountains,  and  to  stay  near  and  watch  till 
it  was  dead;  and  I  threatened  him  with  all 
manner  of  punishment  if  he  failed.  After- 
wards, when  he  had  done  according  to  all  that 
I  commanded  him,  and  the  child  had  died,  I 


28 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK  i 


sent  some  of  the  most  trustworthy  of  my  eu- 
nuchs, who  viewed  the  body  for  me,  and  then  I 
had  the  child  buried.  This,  sire,  is  the  simple 
truth,  and  this  is  the  death  by  which  the  child 
died." 

1 1 8.  Thus  Harpagus  related  the  whole  story 
in  a  plain,  straightforward  way;  upon  which 
Astyages,  letting  no  sign  escape  him  of  the 
anger  that  he  felt,  began  by  repeating  to  him  all 
that  he  had  just  heard  from  the  cowherd,  and 
then  concluded  with  saying,  "So  the  boy  is 
alive,  and  it  is  best  as  it  is.  For  the  child's  fate 
was  a  great  sorrow  to  me,  and  the  reproaches 
of  my  daughter  went  to  my  heart.  Truly  for- 
tune has  played  us  a  good  turn  in  this.  Go  thou 
home  then,  and  send  thy  son  to  be  with  the 
new  comer,  and  to-night,  as  I  mean  to  sacrifice 
thank-offerings  for  the  child's  safety  to  the 
gods  to  whom  such  honour  is  due,  I  look  to 
have  thee  a  guest  at  the  banquet." 

119.  Harpagus,  on  hearing  this,  made  obeis- 
ance, and  went  home  rejoicing  to  find  that  his 
disobedience  had  turned  out  so  fortunately, 
and  that,  instead  of  being  punished,  he  was  in- 
vited to  a  banquet  given  in  honour  of  the  hap- 
py occasion.  The  moment  he  reached  home  he 
called  for  his  son,  a  youth  of  about  thirteen,  the 
only  child  of  his  parents,  and  bade  him  go  to 
the  palace,  and  do  whatever  Astyages  should 
direct.  Then,  in  the  gladness  of  his  heart,  he 
went  to  his  wife  and  told  her  all  that  had  hap- 
pened. Astyages,  meanwhile,  took  the  son  of 
Harpagus,  and  slew  him,  after  which  he  cut 
him  in  pieces,  and  roasted  some  portions  be- 
fore the  fire,  and  boiled  others;  and  when  all 
were  duly  prepared,  he  kept  them  ready  for 
use.  The  hour  for  the  banquet  came,  and  Har- 
pagus appeared,  and  with  him  the  other  guests, 
and  all  sat  down  to  the  feast.  Astyages  and  the 
rest  of  the  guests  had  joints  of  meat  served  up 
to  them;  but  on  the  table  of  Harpagus,  nothing 
was  placed  except  the  flesh  of  his  own  son.  This 
was  all  put  before  him,  except  the  hands  and 
feet  and  head,  which  were  laid  by  themselves 
in  a  covered  basket.  When  Harpagus  seemed 
to  have  eaten  his  fill,  Astyages  called  out  to 
him  to  know  how  he  had  enjoyed  the  repast. 
On  his  reply  that  he  had  enjoyed  it  excessively, 
they  whose  business  it  was  brought  him  the 
basket,  in  which  were  the  hands  and  feet  and 
head  of  his  son,  and  bade  him  open  it,  and  take 
out  what  he  pleased.  Harpagus  accordingly  un- 
covered the  basket,  and  saw  within  it  the  re- 
mains of  his  son.  The  sight,  however,  did  not 
scare  him,  or  rob  him  of  his  self-possession.  Be- 
ing asked  by  Astyages  if  he  knew  what  beast's 


flesh  it  was  that  he  had  been  eating,  he  an- 
swered that  he  knew  very  well,  and  that  what- 
ever the  king  did  was  agreeable.  After  this  re- 
ply, he  took  with  him  such  morsels  of  the  flesh 
as  were  uneaten,  and  went  home,  intending, 
as  I  conceive,  to  collect  the  remains  and  bury 
them. 

120.  Such  was  the  mode  in  which  Astyages 
punished  Harpagus:  afterwards,  proceeding  to 
consider  what  he  should  do  with  Cyrus,  his 
grandchild,  he  sent  for  the  Magi,  who  formerly 
interpreted  his  dream  in  the  way  which 
alarmed  him  so  much,  and  asked  them  how 
they  had  expounded  it.  They  answered,  with- 
out varying  from  what  they  had  said  before, 
that  "the  boy  must  needs  be  a  king  if  he  grew 
up,  and  did  not  die  too  soon."  Then  Astyages 
addressed  them  thus:  "The  boy  has  escaped, 
and  lives;  he  has  been  brought  up  in  the  coun- 
try, and  the  lads  of  the  village  where  he  lives 
have  made  him  theii  king.  All  that  kings  com- 
monly do  he  has  done.  He  has  had  his  guards, 
and  his  doorkeepers,  and  his  messengers,  and 
all  the  other  usual  officers.  Tell  me,  then,  to 
what,  think  you,  does  all  this  tend?"  The  Magi 
answered,  "If  the  boy  survives,  and  has  ruled 
as  a  king  without  any  craft  or  contrivance,  in 
that  case  we  bid  thee  cheer  up,  and  feel  no 
more  alarm  on  his  account.  He  will  not  reign 
a  second  time.  For  we  have  found  even  oracles 
sometimes  fulfilled  in  an  unimportant  way; 
and  dreams,  still  oftener,  have  wondrous- 
ly  mean  accomplishments."  "It  is  what  I  my- 
self most  incline  to  think,"  Astyages  rejoined; 
"the  boy  having  been  already  king,  the  dream 
is  out,  and  I  have  nothing  more  to  fear  from 
him.  Nevertheless,  take  good  heed  and  counsel 
me  the  best  you  can  for  the  safety  of  my  house 
and  your  own  interests."  "Truly,"  said  the 
Magi  in  reply,  "it  very  much  concerns  our  in- 
terests that  thy  kingdom  be  firmly  established; 
for  if  it  went  to  this  boy  it  would  pass  into  for- 
eign hands,  since  he  is  a  Persian:  and  then  we 
Medes  should  lose  our  freedom,  and  be  quite 
despised  by  the  Persians,  as  being  foreigners. 
But  so  long  as  thou,  our  fellow-countryman, 
art  on  the  throne,  all  manner  of  honours  are 
ours,  and  we  are  even  not  without  some  share 
in  the  government.  Much  reason  therefore 
have  we  to  forecast  well  for  thee  and  for  thy 
sovereignty.  If  then  we  saw  any  cause  for  pres- 
ent fear,  be  sure  we  would  not  keep  it  back 
from  thee.  But  truly  we  are  persuaded  that  the 
dream  has  had  its  accomplishment  in  this 
harmless  way;  and  so  our  own  fears  being  at 
rest,  we  recommend  thee  to  banish  thine.  As 


118-125] 


THE  HISTORY 


29 


for  the  boy,  our  advice  is  that  thou  send  him 
away  to  Persia,  to  his  father  and  mother." 

121.  Astyages  heard  their  answer  with  pleas- 
ure, and  calling  Cyrus  into  his  presence,  said 
to  him,  "My  child,  I  was  led  to  do  thee  a  wrong 
by  a  dream  which  has  come  to  nothing:  from 
that  wrong  thou  wert  saved  by  thy  own  good 
fortune.  Go  now  with  a  light  heart  to  Persia;  I 
will  provide  thy  escort.  Go,  and  when  thou  get- 
test  to  thy  journey 's  end,  thou  wilt  behold  thy 
father  and  thy  mother,  quite  other  people  from 
Mitradates  the  cowherd  and  his  wife." 

122.  With  these  words  Astyages  dismissed 
his  grandchild.  On  his  arrival  at  the  house  of 
Cambyses,  he  was  received  by  his  parents,  who, 
when  they  learnt  who  he  was,  embraced  him 
heartily,  having  always  been  convinced  that  he 
died  almost  as  soon  as  he  was  born.  So  they 
asked  him  by  what  means  he  had  chanced  to 
escape;  and  he  told  them  how  that  till  lately  he 
had  known  nothing  at  all  about  the  matter,  but 
had  been  mistaken — oh!  so  widely! — and  how 
that  he  had  learnt  his  history  by  the  way,  as  he 
came  from  Media.  He  had  been  quite  sure  that 
he  was  the  son  of  the  king's  cowherd,  but  on 
the  road  the  king's  escort  had  told  him  all  the 
truth;  and  then  he  spoke  of  the  cowherd's  wife 
who  had  brought  him  up,  and  filled  his  whole 
talk  with  her  praises;  in  all  that  he  had  to  tell 
them  about  himself,   it  was  always  Cyno — 
Cyno  was  everything.  So  it  happened  that  his 
parents,  catching  the  name  at  his  mouth,  and 
wishing  to  persuade  the  Persians  that  there 
was  a  special  providence  in  his  preservation, 
spread  the  report  that  Cyrus,  when  he  was  ex- 
posed, was  suckled  by  a  bitch.  This  was  the 
sole  origin  of  the  rumour. 

123.  Afterwards,  when  Cyrus  grew  to  man- 
hood, and  became  known  as  the  bravest  and 
most  popular  of  all  his  compeers,  Harpagus, 
who  was  bent  on  revenging  himself  upon  As- 
tyages, began  to  pay  him  court  by  gifts  and 
messages.  His  own  rank  was  too  humble  for 
him  to  hope  to  obtain  vengeance  without  some 
foreign  help.  When  therefore  he  saw  Cyrus, 
whose  wrongs  were  so  similar  to  his  own, 
growing  up  expressly  (as  it  were)  to  be  the 
avenger  whom  he  needed,  he  set  to  work  to 
procure  his  support  and  aid  in  the  matter.  He 
had  already  paved  the  way  for  his  designs,  by 
persuading,  severally,  the  great  Median  nobles, 
whom  the  harsh  rule  of  their  monarch  had 
offended,  that  the  best  plan  would  be  to  put 
Cyrus  at  their  head,  and  dethrone  Astyages. 
These  preparations  made,  Harpagus,  being 
now  ready  for  revolt,  was  anxious  to  make 


known  his  wishes  to  Cyrus,  who  still  lived  in 
Persia;  but  as  the  roads  between  Media  and 
Persia  were  guarded,  he  had  to  contrive  a 
means  of  sending  word  secretly,  which  he  did 
in  the  following  way.  He  took  a  hare,  and  cut- 
ting open  its  belly  without  hurting  the  fur,  he 
slipped  in  a  letter  containing  what  he  wanted 
to  say,  and  then  carefully  sewing  up  the 
paunch,  he  gave  the  hare  to  one  of  his  most 
faithful  slaves,  disguising  him  as  a  hunter  with 
nets,  and  sent  him  off  to  Persia  to  take  the 
game  as  a  present  to  Cyrus,  bidding  him  tell 
Cyrus,  by  word  of  mouth,  to  paunch  the  ani- 
mal himself,  and  let  no  one  be  present  at  the 
time. 

124.  All  was  done  as  he  wished,  and  Cyrus, 
on  cutting  the  hare  open,  found  the  letter  in- 
side, and  read  as  follows: — "Son  of  Cambyses, 
the  gods  assuredly  watch  over  thee,  or  never 
wouidst  thou  have  passed  through  thy  many 
wonderful  adventures — now  is  the  time  when 
thou  mayst  avenge  thyself  upon  Astyages,  thy 
murderer.  He  willed  thy  death,  remember;  to 
the  gods  and  to  me  thou  owest  that  thou  art 
still  alive.  I  think  thou  art  not  ignorant  of  what 
he  did  to  thee,  nor  of  what  I  suffered  at  his 
hands  because  I  committed  thee  to  the  cow- 
herd, and  did  not  put  thee  to  death.  Listen  now 
to  me,  and  obey  my  words,  and  all  the  empire 
of  Astyages  shall  be  thine.  Raise  the  standard 
of  revolt  in  Persia,  and  then  march  straight  on 
Media.  Whether  Astyages  appoint  me  to  com- 
mand his  forces  against  thee,  or  whether  he 
appoint  any  other  of  the  princes  of  the  Medes, 
all  will  go  as  thou  couldst  wish.  They  will  be 
the  first  to  fall  away  from  him,  and  joining  thy 
side,  exert  themselves  to  overturn  his  power. 
Be  sure  that  on  our  part  all  is  ready;  wherefore 
do  thou  thy  part,  and  that  speedily." 

125.  Cyrus,  on  receiving  the  tidings  con- 
tained in  this  letter,  set  himself  to  consider  how 
he  might  best  persuade  the  Persians  to  revolt. 
After  much  thought,  he  hit  on  the  following  as 
the  most  expedient  course:  he  wrote  what  he 
thought  proper  upon  a  roll,  and  then  calling 
an  assembly  of  the  Persians,  he  unfolded  the 
roll,  and  read  out  of  it  that  Astyages  appointed 
him  their  general.  "And  now,"  said  he,  "since 
it  is  so,  I  command  you  to  go  and  bring  each 
man  his  reaping-hook."  With  these  words  he 
dismissed  the  assembly. 

Now  the  Persian  nation  is  made  up  of  many 
tribes.  Those  which  Cyrus  assembled  and  per- 
suaded to  revolt  from  the  Medes  were  the 
principal  ones  on  which  all  the  others  are  de- 
pendent. These  are  the  Pasargadae,  the  Mara- 


30 


HERODOTUS 


[  BOOK  i 


phians,  and  the  Maspians,  of  whom  the  Pasar- 
gadae  arc  the  noblest.  The  Achaemenidae,  from 
which  spring  all  the  Perseid  kings,  is  one  of 
their  clans.  The  rest  of  the  Persian  tribes  are 
the  following:  the  Panthialxans,  the  Deru- 
siaeans,  the  Germanians,  who  are  engaged  in 
husbandry;  the  Daans,  the  Mardians,  the  Drop- 
icans,  and  the  Sagartians,  who  are  nomads. 

126.  When,  in  obedience  to  the  orders  which 
they  had  received,  the  Persians  came  with  their 
reaping-hooks,  Cyrus  led  them  to  a  tract  of 
ground,  about  eighteen  or  twenty  furlongs 
each  way,  covered  with  thorns,  and  ordered 
them  to  clear  it  before  the  day  was  out.  They 
accomplished  their  task;  upon  which  he  issued 
a  second  order  to  them,  to  take  the  bath  the 
day  following,  and  again  come  to  him.  Mean- 
while he  collected  together  all  his  father's 
flocks,  both  sheep  and  goats,  and  all  his  oxen, 
and  slaughtered  them,  and  made  ready  to  give 
an  entertainment  to  the  entire  Persian  army. 
Wine,  too,  and  bread  of  the  choicest  kinds  were 
prepared  for  the  occasion.  When  the  morrow 
came,  and  the  Persians  appeared,  he  bade  them 
recline  upon  the  grass,  and  enjoy  themselves. 
After  the  feast  was  over,  he  requested  them  to 
tell  him  "which  they  liked  best,  to-day's  work, 
or  yesterday's ?"  They  answered  that  "the  con- 
trast was  indeed  strong:  yesterday  brought 
them  nothing  but  what  was  bad,  to-day  every- 
thing that  was  good."  Cyrus  instantly  seized 
on  their  reply,  and  laid  bare  his  purpose  in 
these  words:  "Ye  men  of  Persia,  thus  do  mat- 
ters stand  with  you.  If  you  choose  to  hearken 
to  my  words,  you  may  enjoy  these  and  ten 
thousand  similar  delights,  and  never  conde- 
scend to  any  slavish  toil;  but  if  you  will  not 
hearken,  prepare  yourselves  for  unnumbered 
toils  as  hard  as  yesterday's.  Now  therefore  fol- 
low my  bidding,  and  be  free.  For  myselt  I  feel 
that  I  am  destined  by  Providence  to  undertake 
your  liberation;  and  you,  I  am  sure,  are  no  whit 
inferior  to  the  Medes  in  anything,  least  of  all 
in  bravery.  Revolt,  therefore,  from  Astyages, 
without  a  moment's  delay." 

127.  The  Persians,  who  had  long  been  impa- 
tient of  the  Median  dominion,  now  that  they 
had  found  a  leader,  were  delighted  to  shake 
off  the  yoke.  Meanwhile  Astyages,  informed 
of  the  doings  of  Cyrus,  sent  a  messenger  to 
summon  him  to  his  presence.  Cyrus  replied, 
"Tell  Astyages  that  I  shall  appear  in  his  pres- 
ence sooner  than  he  will  like."  Astyages,  when 
he  received  this  message,  instantly  armed  all 
his  subjects,  and,  as  if  God  had  deprived  him 
of  his  senses,  appointed  Harpagus  to  be  their 


general,  forgetting  how  greatly  he  had  injured 
him.  So  when  the  two  armies  met  and  en- 
gaged, only  a  few  of  the  Medes,  who  were  not 
in  the  secret,  fought;  others  deserted  openly  to 
the  Persians;  while  the  greater  number  coun- 
terfeited fear,  and  fled. 

128.  Astyages,  on   learning  the  shameful 
flight  and  dispersion  of  his  army,  broke  out 
into  threats  against  Cyrus,  saying,  "Cyrus  shall 
nevertheless  have  no  reason  to  rejoice";  and  di- 
rectly he  seized  the  Magian  interpreters,  who 
had  persuaded  him  to  allow  Cyrus  to  escape, 
and  impaled  them;  after  which,  he  armed  all 
the  Medes  who  had  remained  in  the  city,  both 
young  and  old;  and  leading  them  against  the 
Persians,  fought  a  battle,  in  which  he  was  ut- 
terly defeated,  his  army  being  destroyed,  and 
he  himself  falling  into  the  enemy's  hands. 

129.  Harpagus  then,  seeing  him  a  prisoner, 
came  near,  and  exulted  over  him  with  many 
jibes  and  jeers.  Among  other  cutting  speeches 
which  he  made,  he  alluded  to  the  supper  where 
the  flesh  of  his  son  was  given  him  to  eat,  and 
asked  Astyages  to  answer  him  now,  how  he  en- 
joyed being  a  slave  instead  of  a  king?  Astyages 
looked  in  his  face,  and  asked  him  in  return, 
why  he  claimed  as  his  own  the  achievements 
of  Cyrus?  "Because,"  said  Harpagus,  "it  was 
my  letter  which  made  him  revolt,  and  so  I  am 
entitled  to  all  the  credit  of  the  enterprise." 
Then  Astyages  declared  that  "in  that  case  he 
was  at  once  the  silliest  and  the  most  unjust  of 
men:  the  silliest,  if  when  it  was  in  his  power  to 
put  the  crown  on  his  own  head,  as  it  must  as- 
suredly have  been,  if  the  revolt  was  entirely  his 
doing,  he  had  placed  it  on  the  head  of  another; 
the  most  unjust,  if  on  account  of  that  supper  he 
had  brought  slavery  on  the  Medes.  For,  sup- 
posing that  he  was  obliged  to  invest  another 
with  the  kingly  power,  and  not  retain  it  him- 
self, yet  justice  required  that  a  Mede,  rather 
than  a  Persian,  should  receive  the  dignity. 
Now,  however,  the  Medes,  who  had  been  no 
parties  to  the  wrong  of  which  he  complained, 
were  made  slaves  instead  of  lords,  and  slaves 
moreover  of  those  who  till  recently  had  been 
their  subjects." 

130.  Thus  after  a  reign  of  thirty-five  years, 
Astyages  lost  his  crown,  and  the  Medes,  in  con- 
sequence of  his  cruelty,  were  brought  under 
the  rule  of  the  Persians.  Their  empire  over  the 
parts  of  Asia  beyond  the  Halys  had  lasted  one 
hundred  and  twenty-eight  years,  except  dur- 
ing the  time  when  the  Scythians  had  the  do- 
minion. Afterwards  the  Medes  repented  of 
their  submission,  and  revolted  from  Darius, 


126-134] 


THE  HISTORY 


31 


but  were  defeated  in  battle,  and  again  reduced 
to  subjection.  Now,  however,  in  the  time  of 
Astyages,  it  was  the  Persians  who  under  Cyrus 
revolted  from  the  Medes,  and  became  thence- 
forth the  rulers  of  Asia.  Cyrus  kept  Astyages 
at  his  court  during  the  remainder  of  his  life, 
without  doing  him  any  further  injury.  Such 
then  were  the  circumstances  of  the  birth  and 
bringing  up  of  Cyrus,  and  such  were  the  steps 
by  which  he  mounted  the  throne.  It  was  at  a 
later  date  that  he  was  attacked  by  Croesus,  and 
overthrew  him,  as  I  have  related  in  an  earlier 
portion  of  this  history.  The  overthrow  of  Croe- 
sus made  him  master  of  the  whole  of  Asia. 

131.  The  customs  which  I  know  the  Per- 
sians to  observe  are  the  following:  they  have 
no  images  of  the  gods,  no  temples  nor  altars, 
and  consider  the  use  of  them  a  sign  of  folly. 
This  comes,  I  think,  from  their  not  believing 
the  gods  to  have  the  same  nature  with  men,  as 
the  Greeks  imagine.  Their  wont,  however,  is 
to  ascend  the  summits  of  the  loftiest  moun- 
tains, and  there  to  offer  sacrifice  to  Jupiter, 
which  is  the  name  they  give  to  the  whole  cir- 
cuit of  the  firmament.  They  likewise  offer  to 
the  sun  and  moon,  to  the  earth,  to  fire,  to 
water,  and  to  the  winds.  These  are  the  only 
gods  whose  worship  has  come  down  to  them 
from  ancient  times.  At  a  later  period  they  be- 
gan the  worship  of  Urania,  which  they  bor- 
rowed from  the  Arabians  and  Assyrians.  My- 
litta  is  the  name  by  which  the  Assyrians  know 
this  goddess,  whom  the  Arabians  call  Alitta, 
and  the  Persians  Mitra.1 

132.  To  these  gods  the  Persians  offer  sacri- 
fice in  the  following  manner:  they  raise  no 
altar,  light  no  fire,  pour  no  libations;  there  is 
no  sound  of  the  flute,  no  putting  on  of  chaplets, 
no  consecrated  barley-cake;  but  the  man  who 
wishes  to  sacrifice  brings  his  victim  to  a  spot  of 
ground  which  is  pure  from   pollution,  and 
there  calls  upon  the  name  of  the  god  to  whom 
he  intends  to  offer.  It  is  usual  to  have  the  tur- 
ban encircled  with  a  wreath,  most  commonly 
of  myrtle.  The  sacrificer  is  not  allowed  to  pray 
for  blessings  on  himself  alone,  but  he  prays  for 
the  welfare  of  the  king,  and  of  the  whole  Per- 
sian people,  among  whom  he  is  of  necessity  in- 
cluded. He  cuts  the  victim  in  pieces,  and  hav- 
ing boiled  the  flesh,  he  lays  it  out  upon  the 
tenderest  herbage  that  he  can  find,  trefoil  es- 
pecially. When  all  is  ready,  one  of  the  Magi 
comes  forward  and  chants  a  hymn,  which  they 

1  This  identification  is  altogether  a  mistake.  The 
Persians,  like  their  Vedic  brethren,  worshipped  the 
sun  under  the  name  of  Mithra. 


say  recounts  the  origin  of  the  gods.  It  is  not 
lawful  to  offer  sacrifice  unless  there  is  a  Magus 
present.  After  waiting  a  short  time  the  sacri- 
ficer carries  the  flesh  of  the  victim  away  with 
him,  and  makes  whatever  use  of  it  he  may 
please. 

133.  Of  all  the  days  in  the  year,  the  one 
which  they  celebrate  most  is  their  birthday.  It 
is  customary  to  have  the  board  furnished  on 
that  day  with  an  ampler  supply  than  common. 
The  richer  Persians  cause  an  ox,  a  horse,  a 
camel,  and  an  ass  to  be  baked  whole  and  so 
served  up  to  them:  the  poorer  classes  use  in- 
stead the  smaller  kinds  of  cattle.  They  eat  little 
solid  food  but  abundance  of  dessert,  which  is 
set  on  table  a  few  dishes  at  a  time;  this  it  is 
which  makes  them  say  that  "the  Greeks,  when 
they  eat,  leave  off  hungry,  having  nothing 
worth  mention  served  up  to  them  after  the 
meats;  whereas,  if  they  had  more  put  before 
them,  they  would  not  stop  eating."  They  are 
very  fond  of  wine,  and  drink  it  in  large  quan- 
tities. To  vomit  or  obey  natural  calls  in  the 
presence  of  another  is  forbidden  among  them. 
Such  are  their  customs  in  these  matters. 

It  is  also  their  general  practice  to  deliberate 
upon  affairs  of  weight  when  they  are  drunk; 
and  then  on  the  morrow,  when  they  are  sober, 
the  decision  to  which  they  came  the  night  be- 
fore is  put  before  them  by  the  master  of  the 
house  in  which  it  was  made;  and  if  it  is  then 
approved  of,  they  act  on  it;  if  not,  they  set  it 
aside.  Sometimes,  however,  they  are  sober  at 
their  first  deliberation,  but  in  this  case  they  al- 
ways reconsider  the  matter  under  the  influence 
of  wine. 

134.  When  they  meet  each  other  in  the 
streets,  you  may  know  if  the  persons  meeting 
are  of  equal  rank  by  the  following  token:  if 
they  are,  instead  of  speaking,  they  kiss  each 
other  on  the  lips.  In  the  case  where  one  is  a 
little  inferior  to  the  other,  the  kiss  is  given  on 
the  cheek;  where  the  difference  of  rank  is 
great,  the  inferior  prostrates  himself  upon  the 
ground.  Of  nations,  they  honour  most  their 
nearest  neighbours,  whom  they  esteem  next  to 
themselves;  those  who  live  beyond  these  they 
honour  in  the  second  degree;  and  so  with  the 
remainder,  the  further  they  are  removed,  the 
less  the  esteem  in  which  they  hold  them.  The 
reason  is  that  they  look  upon  themselves  as 
very  greatly  superior  in  all  respects  to  the  rest 
of  mankind,  regarding  others  as  approaching 
to  excellence  in  proportion  as  they  dwell  near- 
er to  them;  whence  it  comes  to  pass  that  those 
who  are  the  farthest  off  must  be  the  most  de- 


32 


HERODOTUS 


f  BOOK  i 


graded  of  mankind.1  Under  the  dominion  of 
the  Medcs,  the  several  nations  of  the  empire 
exercised  authority  over  each  other  in  this  or- 
der. The  Medes  were  lords  over  all,  and  gov- 
erned the  nations  upon  their  borders,  who  in 
their  turn  governed  the  States  beyond,  who 
likewise  bore  rule  over  the  nations  which  ad- 
joined on  them.2  And  this  is  the  order  which 
the  Persians  also  follow  in  their  distribution  of 
honour;  for  that  people,  like  the  Medes,  has  a 
progressive  scale  of  administration  and  govern- 
ment. 

135.  There  is  no  nation  which  so  readily 
adopts  foreign  customs  as  the  Persians.  Thus, 
they  have  taken  the  dress  of  the  Medes,  consid- 
ering it  superior  to  their  own;  and  in  war  they 
wear  the  Egyptian  breastplate.  As  soon  as  they 
hear  of  any  luxury,  they  instantly  make  it  their 
own:  and  hence,  among  other  novelties,  they 
have  learnt  unnatural  lust  from  the  Greeks. 
Each  of  them  has  several  wives,  and  a  still 
larger  number  of  concubines. 

136.  Next  to  prowess  in  arms,  it  is  regarded 
as  the  greatest  proof  of  manly  excellence  to  be 
the  father  of  many  sons.  Every  year  the  king 
sends  rich  gifts  to  the  man  who  can  show  the 
largest  number:  for  they  hold  that  number  is 
strength.  Their  sons  arc  carefully  instructed 
from  their  fifth  to  their  twentieth  year,  in  three 
things  alone, — to  ride,  to  draw  the  bow,  and  to 
speak  the  truth.  Until  their  fifth  year  they  are 
not  allowed  to  come  into  the  sight  of  their 
father,  but  pass  their  lives  with  the  women. 
This  is  done  that,  if  the  child  die  young,  the 
father  may  not  be  afflicted  by  its  loss. 

137.  To  my  mind  it  is  a  wise  rule,  as  also 
is  the  following — that  the  king  shall  not  put 
any  one  to  death  for  a  single  iault,  and  that 
none  of  the  Persians  shall  visit  a  single  fault  in 
a  slave  with  any  extreme  penalty;  but  in  every 

1  In  an  early  stage  of  geographical  knowledge 
each  nation  regards  itself  as  occupying  the  centre 
of   the   earth.    Herodotus   tacitly  assumes    that 
Greece  is  the  centre. 

2  It  is  quite  inconceivable  that  there  should  have 
been  any  such  system  of  government  either  in 
Media  or  Persia,  as  Herodotus  here  indicates.  With 
respect  to  Persia,  we  know  that  the  most  distant 
satrapies  were  held  as  directly  of  the  crown  as 
the  nearest.  The  utmost  that  can  be  said  with  truth 
is  that  in  the  Persian  and  Median,  as  in  the  Ro- 
man empire,  there  were  three  grades;  first,  the  rul- 
ing nation*,  secondly,  the  conquered  provinces; 
thirdly,  the  nations  on  the  frontier,  governed  by 
their  own  laws  and  princes,  but  owning  the  su- 
premacy of  the  imperial  power,  and  reckoned 
among  its  tributaries. 


case  the  services  of  the  offender  shall  be  set 
against  his  misdoings;  and,  if  the  latter  be 
found  to  outweigh  the  former,  the  aggrieved 
party  shall  then  proceed  to  punishment. 

138.  The  Persians  maintain  that  never  yet 
did  any  one  kill  his  own  father  or  mother;  but 
in  all  such  cases  they  are  quite  sure  that,  if 
matters  were  sifted  to  the  bottom,  it  would  be 
found  that  the  child  was  either  a  changeling 
or  else  the  fruit  of  adultery;  for  it  is  not  likely, 
they  say,  that  the  real  father  should  perish  by 
the  hands  of  his  child. 

139.  They  hold  it  unlawful  to  talk  of  any- 
thing which  it  is  unlawful  to  do.  The  most  dis- 
graceful thing  in  the  world,  they  think,  is  to 
tell  a  lie;  the  next  worst,  to  owe  a  debt:  be- 
cause,  among  other  reasons,  the  debtor   is 
obliged  to  tell  lies.  If  a  Persian  has  the  leprosy 
he  is  not  allowed  to  enter  into  a  city,  or  to  have 
any  dealings  with  the  other  Persians;  he  must, 
they  say,  have  sinned  against  the  sun.  Foreign- 
ers attacked  by  this  disorder,  are  forced  to  leave 
the  country:  even  white  pigeons  are  often  driv- 
en away,  as  guilty  of  the  same  offence.  They 
never  defile  a  river  with  the  secretions  of  their 
bodies,  nor  even  wash  their  hands  in  one;  nor 
will  they  allow  others  to  do  so,  as  they  have 
a  great  reverence  for  rivers.  There  is  another 
peculiarity,    which   the   Persians   themselves 
have  never  noticed,  but  which  has  not  escaped 
my  observation.  Their  names,  which  are  ex- 
pressive of  some  bodily  or  mental  excellence, 
all  end  with  the  same  letter — the  letter  which 
is  called  San  by  the  Dorians,  and  Sigma  by  the 
lonians.  Any  one  who  examines  will  find  that 
the  Persian  names,  one  and  all  without  excep- 
tion, end  with  this  letter.3 

140.  Thus  much  I  can  declare  of  the  Per- 
sians with  entire  certainty,  from  my  own  actual 
knowledge.  There  is  another  custom  which  is 
spoken  of  with  reserve,  and  not  openly,  con- 
cerning their  dead.  It  is  said  that  the  body  of  a 
male  Persian  is  never  buried,  until  it  has  been 
torn  either  by  a  dog  or  a  bird  of  prey.  That  the 
Magi  have  this  custom  is  beyond  a  doubt,  for 
they  practise  it  without  any  concealment.  The 
dead  bodies  are  covered  with  wax,  and  then 
buried  in  the  ground. 

3  Here  Herodotus  was  again  mistaken.  The  Per- 
sian names  of  men  which  terminate  with  a  conso- 
nant end  indeed  invariably  with  the  letter  s,  or 
rather  sht  as  Kurush  (Cyrus),  Daryavush  (Dari- 
us). But  a  large  number  of  Persian  names  of  men 
were  pronounced  with  a  vowel  termination,  not 
expressed  in  writing,  and  in  these  the  last  conso- 
nant might  be  almost  any  letter. 


THE  HISTORY 


33 


The  Magi  are  a  very  peculiar  race,  different 
entirely  from  the  Egyptian  priests,  and  indeed 
from  all  other  men  whatsoever.  The  Egyptian 
priests  make  it  a  point  of  religion  not  to  kill 
any  live  animals  except  those  which  they  oiler 
in  sacrifice.  The  Magi,  on  the  contrary,  kill  ani- 
mals of  all  kinds  with  their  own  hands,  ex- 
cepting dogs  and  men.  They  even  seem  to  take 
a  delight  in  the  employment,  and  kill,  as  read- 
ily as  they  do  other  animals,  ants  and  snakes, 
and  such  like  flying  or  creeping  things.  How- 
ever, since  this  has  always  been  their  custom, 
let  them  keep  to  it.  I  return  to  my  former  nar- 
rative. 

141.  Immediately    after    the    conquest    of 
Lydia  by  the  Persians,  the  Ionian  and  /Rolian 
Greeks  sent  ambassadors  to  Cyrus  at  Sardis, 
and  prayed  to  become  his  lieges  on  the  footing 
which  they  had  occupied  under  Croesus.  Cyrus 
listened  attentively  to  their  proposals,  and  an- 
swered them  by  a  fable.  "There  was  a  certain 
piper,"  he  said,  "who  was  walking  one  day  by 
the  seaside,  when  he  espied  some  fish;  so  he  be- 
gan to  pipe  to  them,  imagining  they  would 
come  out  to  him  upon  the  land.  But  as  he 
found  at  last  that  his  hope  was  vain,  he  took  a 
net,  and  enclosing  a  great  draught  of  fishes, 
drew  them  ashore.  The  fish  then  began  to  leap 
and  dance;  but  the  piper  said,  'Cease  your 
dancing  now,  as  you  did  not  choose  to  come 
and  dance  when  I  piped  to  you.'  "  Cyrus  gave 
this  answer  to  the  lonians  and  Cohans,  be- 
cause, when  he  urged  them  by  his  messengers 
to  revolt  from  Croesus,  they  refused;  but  now, 
when  his  work  was  done,  they  came  to  offer 
their  allegiance.  It  was  in  anger,  therefore, 
that  he  made  them  this  reply.  The  lonians,  on 
hearing  it,  set  to  work  to  fortify  their  towns, 
and  held  meetings  at  the  Panionmm,  which 
were  attended  by  all  excepting  the  Milesians, 
with  whom  Cyrus  had  concluded  a  separate 
treaty,  by  which  he  allowed  them  the  terms 
they  had  formerly  obtained  from  Croesus.  The 
other  lonians  resolved,  with  one  accord,  to  send 
ambassadors  to  Sparta  to  implore  assistance. 

142.  Now  the  lonians  of  Asia,  who  meet  at 
the  Panionium,  have  built  their  cities  in  a  re- 
gion where  the  air  and  climate  are  the  most 
beautiful  in  the  whole  world:  for  no  other  re- 
gion is  equally  blessed  with  Ionia,  *  neither 
above  it  nor  below  it,  nor  east  nor  west  of  it. 
For  in  other  countries  either  the  climate  is  over 
cold  and  damp,  or  else  the  heat  and  drought 
are  sorely  oppressive.  The  lonians  do  not  all 
speak  the  same  language,  but  use  in  different 
places  four  different  dialects.  Towards  the 


south  their  first  city  is  Miletus,  next  to  which 
lie  Myus  and  Priene;  all  these  three  are  in 
Caria  and  have  the  same  dialect.  Their  cities 
in  Lydia  are  the  following:  Ephesus,  Colo- 
phon, Lebcdus,  Teos,  Clazomenae,  and  Pho- 
c«a.  The  inhabitants  of  these  towns  have  none 
of  the  peculiarities  of  speech  which  belong  to 
the  three  first-named  cities,  but  use  a  dialect  of 
their  own.  There  remain  three  other  Ionian 
towns,  two  situate  in  isles,  namely,  Samos  and 
Chios;  and  one  upon  the  mainland,  which  is 
Erythra?.  Of  these  Chios  and  Erythrx  have  the 
same  dialect,  while  Samos  possesses  a  language 
peculiar  to  itself.  Such  are  the  four  varieties  of 
which  I  spoke. 

143.  Of  the  lonians  at  this  period,  one  peo- 
ple, the  Milesians,  were  in  no  danger  of  attack, 
as  Cyrus  had  received  them  into  alliance.  The 
islanders  also  had  as  yet  nothing  to  fear,  since 
Phoenicia  was  still  independent  of  Persia,  and 
the  Persians  themselves  were  not  a  seafaring 
people.  The  Milesians  had  separated  from  the 
common  cause  solely  on  account  of  the  ex- 
treme weakness  of  the  lonians:  for,  feeble  as 
the  power  of  the  entire  Hellenic  race  was  at 
that  time,  of  all  its  tribes  the  Ionic  was  by  far 
the  feeblest  and  least  esteemed,  not  possessing 
a  single  State  of  any  mark  excepting  Athens. 
The  Athenians  and  most  of  the  other  Ionic 
States  over  the  world,  went  so  far  in  their  dis- 
like of  the  name  as  actually  to  lay  it  aside;  and 
even  at  the  present  day  the  greater  number  of 
them  seem  to  me  to  be  ashamed  of  it.  But  the 
twelve  cities  in  Asia  have  always  gloried  in  the 
appellation;  they  gave  the  temple  which  they 
built  for  themselves  the  name  of  the  Panio- 
nium, and  decreed  that  it  should  not  be  open 
to  any  of  the  other  Ionic  States;  no  State, 
however,  except  Smyrna,  has  craved  admission 
to  it. 

144.  In  the  same  way  the  Dorians  of  the  re- 
gion which  is  now  called  the  Pentapolis,  but 
which  was  formerly  known  as  the  Doric  Hexa- 
polis,  exclude  all  their  Dorian  neighbours  from 
their  temple,  theTriopium:  nay,  they  have  even 
gone  so  far  as  to  shut  out  from  it  certain  of 
their  own  body  who  were  guilty  of  an  offence 
against  the  customs  of  the  place.  In  the  games 
which  were  anciently  celebrated  in  honour  of 
the  Triopian  Apollo,  the  prizes  given  to  the 
victors  were  tripods  of  brass;  and  the  rule  was 
that  these  tripods  should  not  be  carried  away 
from  the  temple,  but  should  then  and  there  be 
dedicated  to  the  god.  Now  a  man  of  Halicar- 
nassus,  whose  name  was  Agasicles,  being  de- 
clared victor  in  the  games,  in  open  contempt  of 


34 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK  i 


the  law,  took  the  tripod  home  to  his  own  house 
and  there  hung  it  against  the  wall.  As  a  pun- 
ishment for  this  fault,  the  five  other  cities,  Lin- 
dus,  lalyssus,  Cameirus,  Cos,  and  Cnidus,  de- 
prived the  sixth  city,  Halicarnassus,  of  the 
right  of  entering  the  temple. 

145.  The  lonians  founded  twelve  cities  in 
Asia,  and  refused  to  enlarge  the  number,  on  ac- 
count (as  I  imagine)  of  their  having  been  di- 
vided into  twelve  States  when  they  lived  in  the 
Peloponnese;  just  as  the  Achaeans,  who  drove 
them  out,  are  at  the  present  day.  The  first  city 
of  the  Achaeans  after  Sicyon,  is  Pellene,  next  to 
which  are  /Egeira,  ^Egae  upon  the  Crathis,  a 
stream  which  is  never  dry,  and  from  which  the 
Italian  Crathis  received  its  name, — Bura,  He- 
lice — where  the  lonians  took  refuge  on  their 
defeat  by  the  Achxan  invaders — yEgium,  Rhy- 
pes,  Patreis,  Phareis,  Olenus  on  the  Peirus, 
which  is  a  large  river — Dym^  and  Tritaeeis, 
all  sea-port  towns  except  the  last  two,  which  lie 
up  the  country. 

146.  These  arc  the  twelve  divisions  of  what 
is  now  Achaca,  and  was  formerly  Ionia;  and  it 
was  owing  to  their  coming  from  a  country  so 
divided  that  the  lonians,  on  reaching  Asia, 
founded  their  twelve  States:  for  it  is  the  height 
of  folly  to  maintain  that  these  lonians  are  more 
Ionian  than  the  rest,  or  in  any  respect  better 
born,  since  the  truth  is  that  no  small  portion  of 
them  were  Abantians  from  Euboea,  who  are 
not  even  lonians  in  name;  and,  besides,  there 
were  mixed  up  with  the  emigration  Minyae 
from    Orchomenus,    Cadmeians,    Dryopians, 
Phocians  from  the  several  cities  of  Phocis,  Mo- 
lossians,  Arcadian  Pelasgi,  Dorians  from  Epi- 
daurus,  and  many  other  distinct  tribes.  Even 
those  who  came  from  the  Prytancum  of  Ath- 
ens, and  reckon  themselves  the  purest  lonians 
of  all,  brought  no  wives  with  them  to  the  new 
country,  but  married  Carian  girls,  whose  fa- 
thers they  had  slain.  Hence  these  women  made 
a  law,  which  they  bound  themselves  by  an  oath 
to  observe,  and  which  they  handed  down  to 
their  daughters  after  them,  "That  none  should 
ever  sit  at  meat  with  her  husband,  or  call  him 
by  his  name";  because  the  invaders  slew  their 
fathers,  their  husbands,  and  their  sons,  and 
then  forced  them  to  become  their  wives.  It  was 
at  Miletus  that  these  events  took  place. 

147.  The  kings,  too,  whom  they  set  over 
them,  were  either  Lycians,  of  the  blood  of 
Glaucus,  son  of  Hippolochus,  or  Pylian  Cau- 
cons  of  the  blood  of  Codrus,  son  of  Mel  an  thus; 
or  else  from  both  those  families.  But  since  these 
lonians  set  more  store  by  the  name  than  any  of 


the  others,  let  them  pass  for  the  pure-bred  lon- 
ians; though  truly  all  are  lonians  who  have 
their  origin  from  Athens,  and  keep  the  Apa- 
turia.  This  is  a  festival  which  all  the  lonians 
celebrate,  except  the  Ephesians  and  the  Colo- 
phonians,  whom  a  certain  act  of  bloodshed  ex- 
cludes from  it. 

148.  The  Panionium  is  a  place  in  Mycale, 
facing  the  north,  which  was  chosen  by  the 
common  voice  of  the  lonians  and  made  sacred 
to  Heliconian  Neptune.  Mycale  itself  is  a  pro- 
montory of  the  mainland,  stretching  out  west- 
ward towards  Samos,  in  which  the  lonians  as- 
semble from  all  their  States  to  keep  the  feast 
of  the  Panionia.  The  names  of  festivals,  not 
only  among  the  lonians  but  among  all  the 
Greeks,  end,  like  the  Persian  proper  names,  in 
one  and  the  same  letter. 

149.  The  above-mentioned,  then,  are  the 
twelve  towns  of  the  lonians.  The  ALolic  cities 
are  the  following: — Cyme,  called  also  Phri- 
conis,  Larissa,  Neonteichus,  Temnus,  Cilia, 
Notium,  ^Egiroessa,  Pitane,  jEgaea.-,  Mynna, 
and  Gryneia.  These  are  the  eleven  ancient  ci- 
ties of  the  ^olians.  Originally,  indeed,  they 
had  twelve  cities  upon  the  mainland,  like  the 
lonians,  but  the  lonians  deprived  them  of 
Smyrna,  one  of  the  number.  The  soil  of  JEolis 
is  better  than  that  of  Ionia,  but  the  climate  is 
less  agreeable. 

150.  The  following  is  the  way  in  which  the 
loss  of  Smyrna  happened.  Certain  men  of  Col- 
ophon had  been  engaged  in  a  sedition  there, 
and  being  the  weaker  party,  were  driven  by  the 
others  into  banishment.  The  Smyrnaeans  re- 
ceived the  fugitives,  who,  after  a  time,  watch- 
ing their  opportunity,  while  the  inhabitants 
were  celebrating  a  feast  to  Bacchus  outside  the 
walls,  shut  to  the  gates,  and  so  got  possession  of 
the  town.  The  Cohans  of  the  other  States  came 
to  their  aid,  and  terms  were  agreed  on  between 
the  parties,  the  lonians  consenting  to  give  up 
all  the  moveables,  and  the  ^Eolians  making  a 
surrender  of  the  place.  The  expelled  Smyrnae- 
ans were  distributed  among  the  other  States  of 
the  ^Bolians,  and  were  everywhere  admitted  to 
citizenship. 

151.  These,  then,  were  all  the  ^Eolic  cities 
upon  the  mainland,  with  the  exception  of  those 
about  Mount  Ida,  which  made  no  part  of  this 
confederacy.  As  for  the  islands,  Lesbos  contains 
five  cities.  Arisba,  the  sixth,  was  taken  by  the 
Methymnaeans,  their  kinsmen,  and  the  inhabi- 
tants reduced  to  slavery.  Tenedos  contains  one 
city,  and  there  is  another  which  is  built  on  what 
are  called  the  Hundred  Isles.  The  ^Eolians  of 


145-156] 


THE  HISTORY 


35 


Lesbos  and  Tencdos,  like  the  Ionian  islanders, 
had  at  this  time  nothing  to  fear.  The  other  ^Eo- 
lians  decided  in  their  common  assembly  to  fol- 
low the  lonians,  whatever  course  they  should 
pursue. 

152.  When  the  deputies  of  the  lonians  and 
Cohans,  who  had  journeyed  with  all  speed  to 
Sparta,  reached  the  city,  they  chose  one  of  their 
number,  Pythermus,  a  Phocacan,  to  be  their 
spokesman.  In  order  to  draw  together  as  large 
an  audience  as  possible,  he  clothed  himself  in 
a  purple  garment,  and  so  attired  stood  forth  to 
speak.  In  a  long  discourse  he  besought  the  Spar- 
tans to  come  to  the  assistance  of  his  country- 
men, but  they  were  not  to  be  persuaded,  and 
voted  against  sending  any  succour.  The  depu- 
ties accordingly  went  their  way,  while  the  La- 
cedaemonians,   notwithstanding    the    refusal 
which  they  had  given  to  the  prayer  of  the  depu- 
tation, despatched  a  penteconter  to  the  Asiatic 
coast  with  certain  Spartans  on  board,  for  the 
purpose,  as  I  think,  of  watching  Cyrus  and  Io- 
nia. These  men,  on  their  arrival  at  Phocaea,  sent 
to  Sardis  Lacrines,  the  most  distinguished  of 
their  number,  to  prohibit  Cyrus,  in  the  name  of 
the  Lacedaemonians,  from  offering  molestation 
to  any  city  of  Greece,  since  they  would  not  al- 
low it. 

153.  Cyrus  is  said,  on  hearing  the  speech  of 
the  herald,  to  have  asked  some  Greeks  who 
were  standing  by,  "Who  these  Lacedaemonians 
were,  and  what  was  their  number,  that  they 
dared  to  send  him  such  a  notice?"  When  he 
had  received  their  reply,  he  turned  to  the  Spar- 
tan herald  and  said,  "I  have  never  yet  been 
afraid  of  any  men,  who  have  a  set  place  in  the 
middle  of  their  city,  where  they  come  together 
to  cheat  each  other  and  forswear  themselves.  If 
I  live,  the  Spartans  shall  have  troubles  enough 
of  their  own  to  talk  of,  without  concerning 
themselves  about  the  lonians."  Cyrus  intended 
these  words  as  a   reproach   against  all  the 
Greeks,  because  of  their  having  market-places 
where  they  buy  and  sell,  which  is  a  custom  un- 
known to  the  Persians,  who  never  make  pur- 
chases in  open  marts,  and  indeed  have  not  in 
their  whole  country  a  single  market-place. 

After  this  interview  Cyrus  quitted  Sardis, 
leaving  the  city  under  the  charge  of  Tabalus,  a 
Persian,  but  appointing  Pactyas,  a  native,  to 
collect  the  treasure  belonging  to  Croesus  and 
the  other  Lydians,  and  bring  it  after  him.  Cy- 
rus himself  proceeded  towards  Agbatana,  car- 
rying Croesus  along  with  him,  not  regarding 
the  lonians  as  important  enough  to  be  his  im- 
mediate object.  Larger  designs  were  in  his 


mind.  He  wished  to  war  in  person  against  Ba- 
bylon, the  Bactrians,  the  Sacae,  and  Egypt;  he 
therefore  determined  to  assign  to  one  of  his 
generals  the  task  of  conquering  the  lonians. 

154.  No  sooner,  however,  was  Cyrus  gone 
from  Sardis  than  Pactyas  induced  his  country- 
men to  rise  in  open  revolt  against  him  and  his 
deputy  Tabalus.  With  the  vast  treasures  at  his 
disposal  he  then  went  down  to  the  sea,  and  cm- 
ployed  them  in  hiring  mercenary  troops,  while 
at  the  same  time  he  engaged  the  people  of  the 
coast  to  enrol  themselves  in  his  army.  He  then 
marched  upon  Sardis,  where  he  besieged  Taba- 
lus, who  shut  himself  up  in  the  citadel. 

155.  When  Cyrus,  on  his  way  to  Agbatana, 
received  these  tidings,  he  returned  to  Croesus 
and  said,  "Where  will  all  this  end,  Croesus, 
thinkest  thou?  It  seemeth  that  these  Lydians 
will  not  cease  to  cause  trouble  both  to  them- 
selves and  others.  I  doubt  me  if  it  were  not  best 
to  sell  them  all  for  slaves.  Methinks  what  I 
have  now  done  is  as  if  a  man  were  to  'kill  the 
father  and  then  spare  the  child.'  Thou,  who 
wert  something  more  than  a  father  to  thy 
people,  I  have  seized  and  carried  off,  and  to 
that  people  I  have  entrusted  their  city.  Can  I 
then  feel  surprise  at  their  rebellion?"  Thus  did 
Cyrus  open  to  Croesus  his  thoughts;  whereat 
the  latter,  full  of  alarm  lest  Cyrus  should  lay 
Sardis  in  ruins,  replied  as  follows:  "Oh!  my 
king,  thy  words  are  reasonable;  but  do  not,  I 
beseech  thee,  give  full  vent  to  thy  anger,  nor 
doom  to  destruction  an  ancient  city,  guiltless 
alike  of  the  past  and  of  the  present  trouble.  I 
caused  the  one,  and  in  my  own  person  now  pay 
the  forfeit.  Pactyas  has  caused  the  other,  he  to 
whom  thou  gavest  Sardis  in  charge;  let  him 
bear  the  punishment.  Grant,  then,  forgiveness 
to  the  Lydians,  and  to  make  sure  of  their  never 
rebelling  against  thee,  or  alarming  thee  more, 
send  and  forbid  them  to  keep  any  weapons  of 
war,  command  them  to  wear  tunics  under  their 
cloaks,  and  to  put  buskins  upon  their  legs,  and 
make  them  bring  up  their  sons  to  cithern-play- 
ing, harping,  and  shop-keeping.  So  wilt  thou 
soon  see  them  become  women  instead  of  men, 
and  there  will  be  no  more  fear  of  their  revolt- 
ing from  thee." 

156.  Croesus  thought  the  Lydians   would 
even  so  be  better  off  than  if  they  were  sold  for 
slaves,  and  therefore  gave  the  above  advice  to 
Cyrus,  knowing  that,  unless  he  brought  for- 
ward some  notable  suggestion,  he  would  not 
be  able  to  persuade  him  to  alter  his  mind.  He 
was  likewise  afraid  lest,  after  escaping  the  dan- 
ger which  now  pressed,  the  Lydians  at  some  fu- 


36 


HERODOTUS 


[  BOOK  i 


turc  time  might  revolt  from  the  Persians  and 
so  bring  themselves  to  ruin.  The  advice  pleased 
Cyrus,  who  consented  to  forego  his  anger  and 
do  as  Croesus  had  said.  Thereupon  he  sum- 
moned to  his  presence  a  certain  Mede,  Mazares 
by  name,  and  charged  him  to  issue  orders  to 
the  Lydians  in  accordance  with  the  terms  of 
Cra'sus'  discourse.  Further,  he  commanded 
him  to  sell  for  slaves  all  who  had  joined  the 
Lydians  in  their  attack  upon  Sardis,  and  above 
aught  else  to  be  sure  that  he  brought  Pactyas 
with  him  alive  on  his  return.  Having  given 
these  orders  Cyrus  continued  his  journey  to- 
wards the  Persian  territory. 

157.  Pactyas,  when  news  came  of  the  near 
approach  of  the  army  sent  against  him,  fled  in 
terror  to  Cyme.  Mazares,  therefore,  the  Median 
general,  who  had  marched  on  Sardis  with  a  de- 
tachment of  the  army  of  Cyrus,  finding  on  his 
arrival  that  Pactyas  and  his  troops  were  gone, 
immediately  entered  the  town.  And  first  of  all 
he  forced  the  Lydians  to  obey  the  orders  of  his 
master,  and  change  (as  they  did  from  that 
time)  their  entire  manner  of  living.  Next,  he 
despatched  messengers  to  Cyme,  and  required 
to  have  Pactyas  delivered  up  to  him.  On  this 
the  Cymxans  resolved  to  send  to  Branchidx 
and  ask  the  advice  of  the  god.  Branchidx  is 
situated  in  the  territory  ot  Miletus,  above  the 
port  of  Panormus.  There  was  an  oracle  there, 
established  in  very  ancient  times,  which  both 
the  lonians  and  /Eolians  were  wont  often  to 
consult. 

158.  Hither   therefore   the   Cymxans   sent 
their  deputies  to  make  inquiry  at  the  shrine, 
"What  the  gods  would  like  them  to  do  with 
the  Lydian,  Pactyas?"  The  oracle  told  them,  in 
reply,  to  give  him  up  to  the  Persians.  With  this 
answer  the  messengers  returned,  and  the  peo- 
ple of  Cyme*  were  ready  to  surrender  him  ac- 
cordingly; but  as  they  were  preparing  to  do  so, 
Anstodicus,  son  of  Heraclides,  a  citizen  of  dis- 
tinction, hindered  them.  He  declared  that  he 
distrusted  the  response,  and  believed  that  the 
messengers  had  reported  it  falsely;  until  at  last 
another  embassy,  of  which  Anstodicus  himself 
made  part,  was  despatched,  to  repeat  the  for- 
mer inquiry  concerning  Pactyas. 

159.  On  their  arrival  at  the  shrine  of  the 
god,  Anstodicus,  speaking  on  behalf  of  the 
whole  body,  thus  addressed  the  oracle:  "Oh! 
king,  Pactyas  the  Lydian,  threatened  by  the 
Persians  with  a  violent  death,  has  come  to  us 
for  sanctuary,  and  lo,  they  ask  him  at  our 
hands,  calling  upon  our  nation  to  deliver  him 
up.  Now,  though  we  greatly  dread  the  Persian 


power,  yet  have  we  not  been  bold  to  give  up 
our  suppliant,  till  we  have  certain  knowledge 
of  thy  mind,  what  thou  wouldst  have  us  to  do." 
The  oracle  thus  questioned  gave  the  same  an- 
swer as  before,  bidding  them  surrender  Pactyas 
to  the  Persians;  whereupon  Anstodicus,  who 
had  come  prepared  for  such  an  answer,  pro- 
ceeded to  make  the  circuit  of  the  temple,  and 
to  take  all  the  nests  of  young  sparrows  and 
other  birds  that  he  could  find  about  the  build- 
ing. As  he  was  thus  employed,  a  voice,  it  is 
said,  came  forth  from  the  inner  sanctuary,  ad- 
dressing Aristodicus  in  these  words:  "Most  im- 
pious of  men,  what  is  this  thou  hast  the  face  to 
do?  Dost  thou  tear  my  suppliants  from  my 
temple?"  Anstodicus,  at  no  loss  for  a  reply,  re- 
joined, "Oh,  king,  art  thou  so  ready  to  protect 
thy  suppliants,  and  dost  thou  command  the 
Cymxans  to  give  up  a  suppliant?"  "Yes,"  re- 
turned the  god,  "I  do  command  it,  that  so  for 
the  impiety  you  may  the  sooner  perish,  and 
not  come  here  again  to  consult  my  oracle  about 
the  surrender  of  suppliants." 

1 60.  On  the  receipt  of  this  answer  the  Cy- 
mxans,  unwilling  to  bring  the  threatened  de- 
struction on  themselves  by  giving  up  the  man, 
and  afraid  of  having  to  endure  a  siege  if  they 
continued  to  harbour  him,  sent  Pactyas  away 
to  Mytilene.  On  this  Mazarcs  despatched  en- 
voys to  the  Mytilenxans  to  demand  the  fugitive 
of  them,  and  they  were  preparing  to  give  him 
up  for  a  reward  (I  cannot  say  with  certainty 
how  large,  as  the  bargain  was  not  completed), 
when  the  Cymxans,  hearing  what  the  Myti- 
lenxans were  about,  sent  a  vessel  to  Lesbos,  and 
conveyed  away  Pactyas  to  Chios.  From  hence 
it  was  that  he  was  surrendered.  The  Chians 
dragged  him  from  the  temple  of  Minerva  Po- 
liuchus  and  gave  him  up  to  the  Persians,  on 
condition  of  receiving  the  district  of  Atarneus, 
a  tract  of  Mysia  opposite  to  Lesbos,  as  the  price 
of  the  surrender.  Thus  did  Pactyas  fall  into  the 
hands  of  his  pursuers,  who  kept  a  strict  watch 
upon  him  that  they  might  be  able  to  produce 
him  before  Cyrus.  For  a  long  time  afterwards 
none  of  the  Chians  would  use  the  barley  of 
Atarneus  to  place  on  the  heads  of  victims,  or 
make  sacrificial  cakes  of  the  corn  grown  there, 
but  the  whole  produce  of  the  land  was  exclud- 
ed from  all  their  temples. 

161.  Meanwhile  Mazares,  after  he  had  re- 
covered Pactyas  from  the  Chians,  made  war 
upon  those  who  had  taken  part  in  the  attack 
on  Tabalus,  and  in  the  first  place  took  Priene* 
and  sold  the  inhabitants  for  slaves,  after  which 
he  overran  the  whole  plain  of  the  Mxander  and 


i57-i66] 


THE  HISTORY 


37 


the  district  of  Magnesia,  both  of  which  he  gave 
up  for  pillage  to  the  soldiery.  He  then  suddenly 
sickened  and  died. 

162.  Upon  his  death  Harpagus  was  sent 
down  to  the  coast  to  succeed  to  his  command. 
He  also  was  of  the  race  of  the  Medes,  being  the 
man  whom  the  Median  king,  Astyages,  feasted 
at  the  unholy  banquet,  and  who  lent  his  aid  to 
place  Cyrus  upon  the  throne.  Appointed  by  Cy- 
rus to  conduct  the  war  in  these  parts,  he  en- 
tered Ionia,  and  took  the  cities  by  means  of 
mounds.  Forcing  the  enemy  to  shut  themselves 
up  within  their  defences,  he  heaped  mounds  of 
earth  against  their  walls,  and  thus  carried  the 
towns.  Phocaea  was  the  city  against  which  he 
directed  his  first  attack. 

163.  Now  the  Phocaeans  were  the  first  of  the 
Greeks  who  performed  long  voyages,  and  it 
was  they  who  made  the  Greeks  acquainted 
with  the  Adriatic  and  with  Tyrrhenia,  with 
Iberia,  and  the  city  of  Tartessus.  The  vessel 
which  they  used  in  their  voyages  was  not  the 
round-built  merchant-ship,  but  the  long  pente- 
conter.  On  their  arrival  at  Tartessus,  the  king 
of  the  country,  whose  name  was  Arganthonius, 
took  a  liking  to  them.  This  monarch  reigned 
over  the  Tartessians  for  eighty  years,  and  lived 
to  be  a  hundred  and  twenty  years  old.  He  re- 
garded the  Phocaeans  with  so  much  favour  as, 
at  first,  to  beg  them  to  quit  Ionia  and  settle  in 
whatever  part  of  his  country  they  liked.  After- 
wards, finding  that  he  could  not  prevail  upon 
them  to  agree  to  this,  and  hearing  that  the 
Mcde  was  growing  great  in  their  neighbour- 
hood, he  gave  them  money  to  build  a  wall 
about  their  town,  and  certainly  he  must  have 
given  it  with  a  bountiful  hand,  for  the  town  is 
many  furlongs  in  circuit,  and  the  wall  is  built 
entirely  of  great  blocks  of  stone  skilfully  fitted 
together.  The  wall,  then,  was  built  by  his  aid. 

164.  Harpagus,    having   advanced   against 
the  Phocaeans  with  his  army,  laid  siege  to  their 
city,  first,  however,  offering  them  terms.  "It 
would  content  him,"  he  said,  "if  the  Phocae- 
ans  would  agree  to  throw  down  one  of  their 
battlements,  and  dedicate  one  dwelling-house 
to  the  king."  The  Phocaeans,  sorely  vexed  at 
the  thought  of  becoming  slaves,  asked  a  single 
day  to  deliberate  on  the  answer  they  should  re- 
turn, and  besought  Harpagus  during  that  day 
to  draw  off  his  forces  from  the  walls.  Harpagus 
replied,  "that  he  understood  well  enough  what 
they  were  about  to  do,  but  nevertheless  he 
would  grant  their  request."  Accordingly  the 
troops  were  withdrawn,  and  the  Phocaeans 
forthwith  took  advantage  of  their  absence  to 


launch  their  penteconters,  and  put  on  board 
their  wives  and  children,  their  household 
goods,  and  even  the  images  of  their  gods,  with 
all  the  votive  offerings  from  the  fanes,  except 
the  paintings  and  the  works  in  stone  or  brass, 
which  were  left  behind.  With  the  rest  they  em- 
barked, and  putting  to  sea,  set  sail  for  Chios. 
The  Persians,  on  their  return,  took  possession 
of  an  empty  town. 

165.  Arrived  at  Chios,  the  Phocxans  made 
offers  for  the  purchase  of  the  islands  called  the 
CEnuss#,  but  the  Chians  refused  to  part  with 
them,  fearing  lest  the  Phocaeans  should  estab- 
lish a  factory  there,  and  exclude  their  mer- 
chants from  the  commerce  of  those  seas.  On 
their  refusal,  the  Phocaeans,  as  Arganthonius 
was  now  dead,  made  up  their  minds  to  sail  to 
Cyrnus  (Corsica),  where,  twenty  years  before, 
following  the  direction  of  an  oracle,  they  had 
founded  a  city,  which  was  called  Alalia.  Before 
they  set  out,  however,  on  this  voyage,  they 
sailed  once  more  to  Phocaea,  and  surprising  the 
Persian  troops  appointed  by  Harpagus  to  gar- 
rison the  town,  put  them  all  to  the  sword.  After 
this  they  laid  the  heaviest  curses  on  the  man 
who  should  draw  back  and  forsake  the  arma- 
ment; and  having  dropped  a  heavy  mass  of 
iron  into  the  sea,  swore  never  to  return  to  Pho- 
caea till  that  mass  reappeared  upon  the  surface. 
Nevertheless,  as  they  were  preparing  to  depart 
for  Cyrnus,  more  than  half  of  their  number 
were  seized  with  such  sadness  and  so  great  a 
longing  to  see  once  more  their  city  and  their 
ancient  homes,  that  they  broke  the  oath  by 
which  they  had  bound  themselves  and  sailed 
back  to  Phocara. 

1 66.  The  rest  of  the  Phocaeans,  who  kept 
their  oath,  proceeded  without  stopping  upon 
their  voyage,  and  when  they  came  to  Cyrnus 
established  themselves  along  with  the  earlier 
settlers  at  Alalia  and  built  temples  in  the  place. 
For  five  years  they  annoyed  their  neighbours 
by  plundering  and  pillaging  on  all  sides,  until 
at  length  the  Carthaginians  and  Tyrrhenians 
leagued  against  them,  and  sent  each  a  fleet  of 
sixty  ships  to  attack  the  town.  The  Phocaeans, 
on  their  part,  manned  all  their  vessels,  sixty  in 
number,  and  met  their  enemy  on  the  Sardinian 
sea.  In  the  engagement  which  followed  the 
Phocaeans  were  victorious,  but  their  success 
was  only  a  sort  of  Cadmeian  victory.1  They 
lost  forty  ships  in  the  battle,  and  the  twenty 
which  remained  came  out  of  the  engagement 
with  beaks  so  bent  and  blunted  as  to  be  no 

1  A  Cadmeian  victory  was  one  frpm  which  the 
victor  received  more  hurt  than  profit. 


38 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK  i 


longer  serviceable.  The  Phocaeans  therefore 
sailed  back  again  to  Alalia,  and  taking  their 
wives  and  children  on  board,  with  such  por- 
tion of  their  goods  and  chattels  as  the  vessels 
could  bear,  bade  adieu  to  Cyrnus  and  sailed  to 
Rhegium. 

167.  The  Carthaginians  and  Tyrrhenians, 
who  had  got  into  their  hands  many  more  than 
the  Phocitans  from  among  the  crews  of  the 
forty  vessels  that  were  destroyed,  landed  their 
captives  upon  the  coast  after  the  fight,  and 
stoned  them  all  to  death.  Afterwards,  when 
sheep,  or  oxen,  or  even  men  of  the  district  of 
Agylla  passed  by  the  spot  where  the  murdered 
Phocxans  lay,  their  bodies  became  distorted,  or 
they  were  seized  with  palsy,  or  they  lost  the 
use  of  some  of  their  limbs.  On  this  the  people 
of  Agylla  sent  to  Delphi  to  ask  the  oracle  how 
they  might  expiate  their  sin.  The  answer  of  the 
Pythoness  required  them  to  institute  the  cus- 
tom, which  they  still  observe,  of  honouring  the 
dead  Phocxans  with  magnificent  funeral  rites, 
and  solemn  games,  both  gymmc  and  equestri- 
an. Such,  then,  was  the  fate  that  befell  the  Pho- 
cacan  prisoners.  The  other  Phocarans,  who  had 
fled  to  Rhegium,  became  after  a  while  the 
founders  of  the  city  called  Vela,  in  the  district 
of  (Enotria.  This  city  they  colonised,  upon  the 
showing  of  a  man  of  Posidonia,  who  suggested 
that  the  oracle  had  not  meant  to  bid  them  set 
up  a  town  in  Cyrnus  the  island,  but  set  up  the 
worship  of  Cyrnus  the  hero. 

168.  Thus  fared  it  with  the  men  of  the  city 
of  Phoc.va  in  [onia.  They  of  Teos  did  and  suf- 
fered almost  the  same;  for  they  too,  when  Har- 
pagus  had  raised  his  mound  to  the  height  of 
their  defences,  took  ship,  one  and  all,  and  sail- 
ing across  the  sea  to  Thrace,  founded  there  the 
city  of  Abdcra.  The  site  was  one  which  Ti- 
mesius  of  Clazomenx  had  previously  tried  to 
colonise,  but  without  any  lasting  success,  for  he 
was  expelled  by  the  Thracians.  Still  the  Teians 
of  Abdcra  worship  him  to  this  day  as  a  hero. 

169.  Of  all  the  lonians  these  two  states  alone, 
rather  than  submit  to  slavery,  forsook  their 
fatherland.  The  others  (I  except  Miletus)  re- 
sisted Harpagus  no  less  bravely  than  those  who 
fled  their  country,  and  performed  many  feats 
of  arms,  each  fighting  in  their  own  defence, 
but  one  after  another  they  suffered  defeat;  the 
cities  were  taken,  and  the  inhabitants  submit- 
ted, remaining  in  their  respective  countries, 
and  obeying  the  behests  of  their  new  lords.  Mi- 
letus, as  I  have  already  mentioned,  had  made 
terms  with  Cyrus,  and  so  continued  at  peace. 
Thus  was  continental  Ionia  once  more  reduced 


to  servitude;  and  when  the  lonians  of  the  is- 
lands saw  their  brethren  upon  the  mainland 
subjugated,  they  also,  dreading  the  like,  gave 
themselves  up  to  Cyrus. 

170.  It  was  while  the  lonians  were  in  this 
distress,  but  still,  amid  it  all,  held  their  meet- 
ings, as  of  old,  at  the  Panionium,  that  Bias  of 
Priene,  who  was  present  at  the  festival,  recom- 
mended (as  I  am  informed)  a  project  of  the 
very  highest  wisdom,  which  would,  had  it  been 
embraced,  have  enabled  the  lonians  to  become 
the    happiest   and    most    flourishing   of   the 
Greeks.  He  exhorted  them  "to  join  in  one  body, 
set  sail  for  Sardinia,  and  there  found  a  single 
Pan-Ionic  city;  so  they  would  escape  from  slav- 
ery and  rise  to  great  fortune,  being  masters  of 
the  largest  island  in  the  world,  exercising  do- 
minion even  beyond  its  bounds;  whereas  if 
they  stayed  in  Ionia,  he  saw  no  prospect  of  their 
ever  recovering  their  lost  freedom."  Such  was 
the  counsel  which  Bias  gave  the  lonians  in 
their  affliction.  Before  their  misfortunes  began, 
Thales,  a  man  of  Miletus,  of  Phoenician  de- 
scent, had  recommended  a  different  plan.  He 
counselled  them  to  establish  a  single  seat  of 
government,  and  pointed  out  Teos  as  the  fittest 
place  for  it;  "for  that,"  he  said,  "was  the  centre 
of  Ionia.  Their  other  cities  might  still  continue 
to  enjoy  their  own  laws,  just  as  if  they  were  in- 
dependent states."  This  also  was  good  advice. 

171.  After  conquering  the  lonians,  Harpa- 
gus proceeded  to  attack  the  Carians,  the  Cau- 
nians,  and  the  Lycians.  The  lonians  and  /£oh- 
ans  were  forced  to  serve  in  his  army.  Now,  of 
the  above  nations  the  Carians  are  a  race  who 
came  into  the  mainland  from  the  islands.  In 
ancient  times  they  were  subjects  of  king  Minos, 
and  went  by  the  name  of  Leleges,  dwelling 
among  the  isles,  and,  so  far  as  I  have  been  able 
to  push  my  inquiries,  never  liable  to  give  trib- 
ute to  any  man.  They  served  on  board  the  ships 
of  king  Minos  whenever  he  required;  and  thus, 
as  he  was  a  great  conqueror  and  prospered  in 
his  wars,  the  Carians  were  in  his  day  the  most 
famous  by  far  of  all  the  nations  of  the  earth. 
They  likewise   were  the  inventors  of  three 
things,  the  use  of  which  was  borrowed  from 
them  by  the  Greeks;  they  were  the  first  to  fas- 
ten crests  on  helmets  and  to  put  devices  on 
shields,  and  they  also  invented  handles  for 
shields.  In  the  earlier  times  shields  were  with- 
out handles,  and  their  wearers  managed  them 
by  the  aid  of  a  leathern  thong,  by  which  they 
were  slung  round  the  neck  and  left  shoulder. 
Long  after  the  time  of  Minos,  the  Carians  were 
driven  from  the  islands  by  the  lonians  and 


167-175] 


THE  HISTORY 


39 


Dorians,  and  so  settled  upon  the  mainland. 
The  above  is  the  account  which  the  Cretans 
give  of  the  Carians:  the  Carians  themselves  say 
very  differently.  They  maintain  that  they  are 
the  aboriginal  inhabitants  of  the  part  of  the 
mainland  where  they  now  dwell,  and  never 
had  any  other  name  than  that  which  they  still 
bear;  and  in  proof  of  this  they  show  an  ancient 
temple  of  Carian  Jove  in  the  country  of  the 
Mylasians,  in  which  the  Mysians  and  Lydians 
have  the  right  of  worshipping,  as  brother  races 
to  the  Carians:  for  Lydus  and  Mysus,  they  say, 
were  brothers  of  Car.  These  nations,  therefore, 
have  the  aforesaid  right;  but  such  as  are  of  a 
different  race,  even  though  they  have  come  to 
use  the  Carian  tongue,  are  excluded  from  this 
temple. 

172.  The  Caumans,  in  my  judgment,  arc  ab- 
originals; but  by  their  own  account  they  came 
from  Crete.  In  their  language,  either  they  have 
approximated  to  the  Carians,  or  the  Carians  to 
them — on  this  point  I  cannot  speak  with  cer- 
tainty. In  their  customs,  however,  they  differ 
greatly  from  the  Carians,  and  not  only  so,  but 
from  all  other  men.  They  think  it  a  most  hon- 
ourable practice  for  friends  or  persons  of  the 
same  age,  whether  they  be  men,  women,  or 
children,  to  meet  together  in  large  companies, 
for  the  purpose  of  drinking  wine.  Again,  on 
one  occasion  they  determined  that  they  would 
no  longer  make  use  of  the   foreign  temples 
which  had  been  long  established  among  them, 
but  would  worship  their  own  old  ancestral 
gods  alone.  Then  their  whole  youth  took  arms, 
and  striking  the  air  with  their  spears,  marched 
to  the  Calyndic  frontier,  declaring  that  they 
were  driving  out  the  foreign  gods. 

173.  The  Lycians  are  in  good  truth  anciently 
from  Crete;  which  island,  in  former  clays,  was 
wholly   peopled  with   barbarians.   A  quarrel 
arising  there  between  the  two  sons  of  Europa, 
Sarpedon  and  Minos,  as  to  which  of  them 
should  be  king,  Minos,  whose  party  prevailed, 
drove  Sarpedon  and  his  followers  into  banish- 
ment. The  exiles  sailed  to  Asia,  and  landed  on 
the  Milyan  territory.  Milyas  was  the  ancient 
name  of  the  country  now  inhabited  by  the  Ly- 
cians: the  Milyac  of  the  present  day  were,  in 
those  times,  called  Solymi.  So  long  as  Sarpedon 
reigned,  his  followers  kept  the  name  which 
they  brought  with  them  from  Crete,  and  were 
called  Termilae,  as  the  Lycians  still  are  by  those 
who  live  in  their  neighbourhood.  But  after  Ly- 
cus,  the  son  of  Pandion,  banished  from  Athens 
by  his  brother  ^geus,  had  found  a  refuge  with 
Sarpedon  in  the  country  of  these  Termilae,  they 


came,  in  course  of  time,  to  be  called  from  him 
Lycians.  Their  customs  are  partly  Cretan,  part- 
ly Carian.  They  have,  however,  one  singular 
custom  in  which  they  differ  from  every  other 
nation  in  the  world.  They  take  the  mother's 
and  not  the  father's  name.  Ask  a  Lyaan  who 
he  is,  and  he  answers  by  giving  his  own  name, 
that  of  his  mother,  and  so  on  in  the  female  line. 
Moreover,  if  a  free  woman  marry  a  man  who 
is  a  slave,  their  children  are  full  citizens;  but  if 
a  free  man  marry  a  foreign  woman,  or  live 
with  a  concubine,  even  though  he  be  the  first 
person  in  the  State,  the  children  foricit  all  the 
rights  of  citizenship. 

174.  Ot  these  nations,  the  Carians  submitted 
to  Harpagus  without  pertorming  any  brilliant 
exploits.  Nor  did  the  Greeks  who  dwelt  in 
Caria    behave    with    any    greater    gallantry. 
Among  them  were  the  Cnidians,  colonists  from 
Laceda:mon,  who  occupy  a  district  facing  the 
sea,  which  is  called  Triopium.  This  region  ad- 
joins upon  the  Bybassian  Chersonese;  and,  ex- 
cept a  very  small  space,  is  surrounded  by  the 
sea,  being  bounded  on  the  north  by  the  Cera- 
mic Gulf,  and  on  the  south  by  the  channel  to- 
wards the  islands  of  Syme  and  Rhodes.  While 
Harpagus  was  engaged  in  the  conquest  of  Io- 
nia, the  Cmdians,  wishing  to  make  their  coun- 
try an  island,  attempted  to  cut  through  this  nar- 
row neck  of  land,  which  was  no  more  than  five 
furlongs  across  from  sea  to  sea.  Their  whole  ter- 
ritory lay  inside  the  isthmus;  tor  where  Cmdia 
ends  towards  the  mainland,  the  isthmus  begins 
which  they  were  now  seeking  to  cut  through. 
The  work  had  been  commenced,  and  many 
hands  were  employed  upon  it,  when  it  was  ob- 
served that  there  seemed  to  be  something  un- 
usual and  unnatural  in  the  number  ol  wounds 
that  the  workmen  received,  especially  about 
their  eyes,  from  the  splintering  of  the  rock.  The 
Cnidians,  therefore,  sent  to  Delphi,  to  inquire 
what  it  was  that  hindered  their  efforts;  and  re- 
ceived, according  to  their  own  account,  the  fol- 
lowing answer  from  the  oracle: — 

Fence  not  the  isthmus  off,  nor  dig  it  through — 
Jove  would  have  made  an  island,  had  he  wished. 

So  the  Cnidians  ceased  digging,  and  when 
Harpagus  advanced  with  his  army,  they  gave 
themselves  up  to  him  without  striking  a  blow. 

175.  Above  Halicarnassus,  and  further  from 
the  coast,  were  the  Pedasians.  With  this  people, 
when  any  evil  is  about  to  befall  either  them- 
selves or  their  neighbours,  the  priestess  of  Mi- 
nerva grows  an  ample  beard.  Three  tunes  has 
this  marvel  happened.  They  alone,  of  all  the 


40 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK 


dwellers  in  Caria,  resisted  Harpagus  for  a 
while,  and  gave  him  much  trouble,  maintain- 
ing themselves  in  a  certain  mountain  called 
Lida,  which  they  had  fortified;  but  in  course  of 
time  they  also  were  forced  to  submit. 

176.  When  Harpagus,  after  these  successes, 
led  his  forces  into  the  Xanthian  plain,  the  Ly- 
cians  of  Xanthus  went  out  to  meet  him  in  the 
field:  though  but  a  small  band  against  a  numer- 
ous host,  they  engaged  in  battle,  and  performed 
many  glorious  exploits.  Overpowered  at  last, 
and  forced  within  their  walls,  they  collected 
into  the  citadel  their  wives  and  children,  all 
their  treasures,  and  their  slaves;  and  having  so 
done,  fired  the  building,  and  burnt  it  to  the 
ground.  After  this,  they  bound  themselves  to- 
gether by  dreadful  oaths,  and  sallying  forth 
against  the  enemy,  died  sword  in  hand,  not 
one  escaping.  Those  Lycians  who  now  claim  to 
be  Xanthians,  are  foreign  immigrants,  except 
eighty  families,  who  happened  to  be  absent 
from  the  country,  and  so  survived  the  others. 
Thus  was  Xanthus  taken  by  Harpagus,  and 
Caunus  fell  in  like  manner  into  his  hands;  for 
the  Caunians  in  the  main  followed  the  exam- 
ple of  the  Lycians. 

177.  While  the  lower  parts  of  Asia  were  in 
this  way  brought  under  by  Harpagus,  Cyrus  in 
person  subjected  the  upper  regions,  conquering 
every  nation,  and  not  suffering  one  to  escape. 
Of  these  conquests  I  shall  pass  by  the  greater 
portion,  and  give  an  account  of  those  only 
which  gave  him  the  most  trouble,  and  are  the 
worthiest  of  mention.  When  he  had  brought  all 
the  rest  of  the  continent  under  his  sway,  he 
made  war  on  the  Assyrians. 

1 78.  Assyria  possesses  a  vast  number  of  great 
cities,  whereof  the  most  renowned  and  strong- 
est at  this  time  was  Babylon,  whither,  after  the 
fall  of  Nineveh,  the  seat  of  government  had 
been  removed.  The  following  is  a  description 
of  the  place: —  The  city  stands  on  a  broad 
plain,  and  is  an  exact  square,  a  hundred  and 
twenty  furlongs  in  length  each  way,  so  that  the 
entire  circuit  is  four  hundred  and  eighty  fur- 
longs. While  such  is  its  size,  in  magnificence 
there  is  no  other  city  that  approaches  to  it.  It  is 
surrounded,  in  the  first  place,  by  a  broad  and 
deep  moat,  full  of  water,  behind  which  rises  a 
wall  fifty  royal  cubits  in  width,  and  two  hun- 
dred in  height.  (The  royal  cubit  is  longer  by 
three  fingers'  breadth  than  the  common  cubit.) 

179.  And  here  I  may  not  omit  to  tell  the  use 
to  which  the  mould  dug  out  of  the  great  moat 
was  turned,  nor  the  manner  wherein  the  wall 
was  wrought.  As  fast  as  they  dug  the  moat  the 


soil  which  they  got  from  the  cutting  was  made 
into  bricks,  and  when  a  sufficient  number  were 
completed  they  baked  the  bricks  in  kilns.  Then 
they  set  to  building,  and  began  with  bricking 
the  borders  of  the  moat,  after  which  they  pro- 
ceeded to  construct  the  wall  itself,  using 
throughout  for  their  cement  hot  bitumen,  and 
interposing  a  layer  of  wattled  reeds  at  every 
thirtieth  course  of  the  bricks.  On  the  top,  along 
the  edges  of  the  wall,  they  constructed  build- 
ings of  a  single  chamber  facing  one  another, 
leaving  between  them  room  for  a  four-horse 
chariot  to  turn.  In  the  circuit  of  the  wall  are  a 
hundred  gates,  all  of  brass,  with  brazen  lintels 
and  side-posts.  The  bitumen  used  in  the  work 
was  brought  to  Babylon  from  the  Is,  a  small 
stream  which  flows  into  the  Euphrates  at  the 
point  where  the  city  of  the  same  name  stands, 
eight  days'  journey  from  Babylon.  Lumps  of 
bitumen  are  found  in  great  abundance  in  this 
river. 

1 80.  The  city  is  divided  into  two  portions  by 
the  river  which  runs  through  the  midst  of  it. 
This  river  is  the  Euphrates,  a  broad,  deep, 
swift  stream,  which  rises  in  Armenia,  and  emp- 
ties itself  into  the  Erythraean  sea.  The  city  wall 
is  brought  clown  on  both  sides  to  the  edge  of 
the  stream:  thence,  from  the  corners  of  the 
wall,  there  is  carried  along  each  bank  of  the 
river  a  fence  of  burnt  bricks.  The  houses  are 
mostly  three  and  four  stories  high;  the  streets 
all  run  in  straight  lines,  not  only  those  parallel 
to  the  river,  but  also  the  cross  streets  which 
lead  down  to  the  water-side.  At  the  river  end 
of  these  cross  streets  are  low  gates  in  the  fence 
that  skirts  the  stream,  which  are,  like  the  great 
gates  in  the  outer  wall,  of  brass,  and  open  on 
the  water. 

181.  The  outer  wall  is  the  main  defence  of 
the  city.  There  is,  however,  a  second  inner 
wall,  of  less  thickness  than  the  first,  but  very 
little  inferior  to  it  in  strength.  The  centre  of 
each  division  of  the  town  was  occupied  by  a 
fortress.  In  the  one  stood  the  palace  of  the 
kings,  surrounded  by  a  wall  of  great  strength 
and  size:  in  the  other  was  the  sacred  precinct 
of  Jupiter  Belus,  a  square  enclosure  two  fur- 
longs each  way,  with  gates  of  solid   brass; 
which  was  also  remaining  in  my  time.  In  the 
middle  of  the  precinct  there  was  a  tower  of 
solid  masonry,  a  furlong  in  length  and  breadth, 
upon  which  was  raised  a  second  tower,  and  on 
that  a  third,  and  so  on  up  to  eight.  The  ascent 
to  the  top  is  on  the  outside,  by  a  path  which 
winds  round  all  the  towers.  When  one  is  about 
half-way  up,  one  finds  a  resting-place  and  seats, 


176-185] 


THE  HISTORY 


41 


where  persons  are  wont  to  sit  some  time  on 
their  way  to  the  summit.  On  the  topmost  tower 
there  is  a  spacious  temple,  and  inside  the  tem- 
ple stands  a  couch  of  unusual  size,  richly 
adorned,  with  a  golden  table  by  its  side.  There 
is  no  statue  of  any  kind  set  up  in  the  place,  nor 
is  the  chamber  occupied  of  nights  by  any  one 
but  a  single  native  woman,  who,  as  the  Chal- 
daeans,  the  priests  of  this  god,  affirm,  is  chosen 
for  himself  by  the  deity  out  of  all  the  women 
of  the  land. 

182.  They  also  declare — but  I  for  my  part  do 
not  credit  it — that  the  god  comes  down  in  per- 
son into  this  chamber,  and  sleeps  upon  the 
couch.  This  is  like  the  story  told  by  the  Egyp- 
tians of  what  takes  place  in  their  city  of  Thebes, 
where  a  woman  always  passes  the  night  in 
the  temple  of  the  Theban  Jupiter.1  In  each  case 
the  woman  is  said  to  be  debarred  all  inter- 
course with  men.  It  is  also  like  the  custom  of 
Patara,  in  Lycia,  where  the  priestess  who  de- 
livers the  oracles,  during  the  time  that  she  is 
so  employed — for  at  Patara  there  is  not  always 
an  oracle — is  shut  up  in  the  temple  every  night. 

183.  Below,  in  the  same  precinct,  there  is  a 
second  temple,  in  which  is  a  sitting  figure  of 
Jupiter,  all  of  gold.  Before  the  figure  stands  a 
large  golden  table,  and  the  throne  whereon  it 
sits,  and  the  base  on  which  the  throne  is  placed, 
are  likewise  of  gold.  The  Chaldaeans  told  me 
that  all  the  gold  together  was  eight  hundred 
talents'  weight.  Outside  the  temple  are  two  al- 
tars, one  of  solid  gold,  on  which  it  is  only  law- 
ful to  offer  sucklings;  the  other  a  common  al- 
tar, but  of  great  size,  on  which  the  full-grown 
animals  are  sacrificed.  It  is  also  on  the  great  al- 
tar that  the  Chaldaeans  burn  the  frankincense, 
which  is  offered  to  the  amount  of  a  thousand 
talents'  weight,  every  year,  at  the  festival  of  the 
God.  In  the  time  of  Cyrus  there  was  likewise  in 
this  temple  a  figure  of  a  man,  twelve  cubits 
high,  entirely  of  solid  gold.  I  myself  did  not  see 
this  figure,  but  I  relate  what  the  Chaldeans  re- 
port concerning  it.  Darius,  the  son  of  Hystas- 
pes,  plotted  to  carry  the  statue  off,  but  had  not 
the  hardihood  to  lay  his  hands  upon  it.  Xerxes, 
however,  the  son  of  Darius,  killed  the  priest 
who  forbade  him  to  move  the  statue,  and  took 
it  away.  Besides  the  ornaments  which  I  have 
mentioned,  there  are  a  large  number  of  private 
offerings  in  this  holy  precinct. 

184.  Many  sovereigns  have  ruled  over  this 
city  of  Babylon,  and  lent  their  aid  to  the  build- 

1  The  Theban  Jupiter,  or  god  worshipped  as  the 
Supreme  Being  in  the  city  of  Thebes,  was  Ammon 
(Amun). 


ing  of  its  walls  and  the  adornment  of  its  tem- 
ples, of  whom  I  shall  make  mention  in  my  As- 
syrian history.  Among  them  two  were  women. 
Of  these,  the  earlier,  called  Semiramis,  held  the 
throne  five  generations  before  the  later  prin- 
cess. She  raised  certain  embankments  well 
worthy  of  inspection,  in  the  plain  near  Baby- 
lon, to  control  the  river,  which,  till  then,  used 
to  overflow,  and  flood  the  whole  country  round 
about. 

185.  The  later  of  the  two  queens,  whose 
name  was  Nitocns,  a  wiser  princess  than  her 
predecessor,  not  only  left  behind  her,  as  mem- 
orials of  her  occupancy  of  the  throne,  the 
works  which  I  shall  presently  describe,  but  also, 
observing  the  great  power  and  restless  enter- 
prise of  the  Medes,  who  had  taken  so  large  a 
number  of  cities,  and  among  them  Nineveh, 
and  expecting  to  be  attacked  in  her  turn,  made 
all  possible  exertions  to  increase  the  defences 
of  her  empire.  And  first,  whereas  the  river  Eu- 
phrates, which  traverses  the  city,  ran  formerly 
with  a  straight  course  to  Babylon,  she,  by  cer- 
tain excavations  which  she  made  at  some  dis- 
tance up  the  stream,  rendered  it  so  winding 
that  it  comes  three  several  times  in  sight  of  the 
same  village,  a  village  in  Assyria,  which  is 
called  Ardericca;  and  to  this  day,  they  who 
would  go  from  our  sea  to  Babylon,  on  descend- 
ing to  the  river  touch  three  times,  and  on  three 
different  days,  at  this  very  place.  She  also  made 
an  embankment  along  each  side  of  the  Eu- 
phrates, wonderful  both  for  breadth  and 
height,  and  dug  a  basin  for  a  lake  a  great  way 
above  Babylon,  close  alongside  of  the  stream, 
which  was  sunk  everywhere  to  the  point  where 
they  came  to  water,  and  was  of  such  breadth 
that  the  whole  circuit  measured  four  hundred 
and  twenty  furlongs.  The  soil  dug  out  of  this 
basin  was  made  use  of  in  the  embankments 
along  the  waterside.  When  the  excavation  was 
finished,  she  had  stones  brought,  and  bordered 
with  them  the  entire  margin  of  the  reservoir. 
These  two  things  were  done,  the  river  made  to 
wind,  and  the  lake  excavated,  that  the  stream 
might  be  slacker  by  reason  of  the  number  of 
curves,  and  the  voyage  be  rendered  circuitous, 
and  that  at  the  end  of  the  voyage  it  might  be 
necessary  to  skirt  the  lake  and  so  make  a  long 
round.  AH  these  works  were  on  that  side  of 
Babylon  where  the  passes  lay,  and  the  roads 
into  Media  were  the  straightest,  and  the  aim  of 
the  queen  in  making  them  was  to  prevent  the 
Medes  from  holding  intercourse  with  the  Bab- 
ylonians, and  so  to  keep  them  in  ignorance  of 
her  affairs. 


42 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK  i 


1 86.  While  the  soil  from  the  excavation  was 
being  thus  used  for  the  defence  of  the  city,  Ni- 
tocris  engaged  also  in  another  undertaking,  a 
mere  by-work  compared  with  those  we  have 
already  mentioned.  The  city,  as  I  said,  was  di- 
vided by  the  river  into  two  distinct  portions. 
Under  the  former  kings,  if  a  man  wanted  to 
pass  from  one  of  these  divisions  to  the  other, 
he  had  to  cross  in  a  boat;  which  must,  it  seems 
to  me,  have  been  very  troublesome.  According- 
ly, while  she  was  digging  the  lake,  Nitocris  be- 
thought herself  of  turning  it  to  a  use  which 
should  at  once  remove  this  inconvenience,  and 
enable  her  to  leave  another  monument  of  her 
reign  over  Babylon.  She  gave  orders  for  the 
hewing  of  immense  blocks  of  stone,  and  when 
they  were  ready  and  the  basin  was  excavated, 
she  turned  the  entire  stream  of  the  Euphrates 
into  the  cutting,  and  thus  for  a  time,  while  the 
basin  was  filling,  the  natural  channel  of  the  riv- 
er was  left  dry.  Forthwith  she  set  to  work,  and 
in  the  first  place  lined  the  banks  of  the  stream 
within  the  city  with  quays  of  burnt  brick,  and 
also  bricked  the  landing-places  opposite  the 
river-gates,    adopting   throughout    the   same 
fashion  of  brickwork  which  had  been  used  in 
the  town  wall;  after  which,  with  the  materials 
which  had  been  prepared,  she  built,  as  near  the 
middle  of  the  town  as  possible,  a  stone  bridge, 
the  blocks  whereof  were  bound  together  with 
iron  and  lead.  In  the  daytime  square  wooden 
platforms  were  laid  along  from  pier  to  pier,  on 
which  the  inhabitants  crossed  the  stream;  but 
at  night  they  were  withdrawn,  to  prevent  peo- 
ple passing  from  side  to  side  in  the  dark  to  com- 
mit robberies.  When  the  river  had  filled  the 
cutting,  and  the  bridge  was  finished,  the  Eu- 
phrates was  turned  back  again  into  its  ancient 
bed;  and  thus  the  basin,  transformed  suddenly 
into  a  lake,  was  seen  to  answer  the  purpose  for 
which  it  was  made,  and  the  inhabitants,  by 
help  of  the  basin,  obtained  the  advantage  of  a 
bridge. 

187.  It  was  this  same  princess  by  whom  a  re- 
markable deception  was  planned.  She  had  her 
tomb  constructed  in  the  upper  part  of  one  of 
the  principal  gateways  of  the  city,  high  above 
the  heads  of  the  passers  by,  with  this  inscrip- 
tion cut  upon  it: — "If  there  be  one  among  my 
successors  on  the  throne  of  Babylon  who  is  in 
want  of  treasure,  let  him  open  my  tomb,  and 
take  as  much  as  he  chooses — not,  however,  un- 
less he  be  truly  in  want,  for  it  will  not  be  for 
his  good/'  This  tomb  continued  untouched  un- 
til Darius  came  to  the  kingdom.  To  him  it 
seemed  a  monstrous  thing  that  he  should  be  un- 


able to  use  one  of  the  gates  of  the  town,  and 
that  a  sum  of  money  should  be  lying  idle,  and 
moreover  inviting  his  grasp,  and  he  not  seize 
upon  it.  Now  he  could  not  use  the  gate,  be- 
cause, as  he  drove  through,  the  dead  body 
would  have  been  over  his  head.  Accordingly  he 
opened  the  tomb;  but  instead  of  money,  found 
only  the  dead  body,  and  a  writing  which  said — 
"Hadst  thou  not  been  insatiate  of  pelf,  and 
careless  how  thou  gottest  it,  thou  wouldst  not 
have  broken  open  the  sepulchres  of  the  dead." 

1 88.  The  expedition  of  Cyrus  was  under- 
taken against  the  son  of  this  princess,  who  bore 
the  same  name  as  his  father  Labynetus,  and 
was  king  of  the  Assyrians.  The  Great  King, 
when  he  goes  to  the  wars,  is  always  supplied 
with  provisions  carefully  prepared  at  home, 
and  with  cattle  of  his  own.  Water  too  from  the 
river  Choaspes,  which  flows  by  Susa,  is  taken 
with  him  for  his  drink,  as  that  is  the  only 
water  which  the  kings  of  Persia  taste.  Wher- 
ever he  travels,  he  is  attended  by  a  number  of 
four-wheeled  cars  drawn  by  mules,  in  which 
the  Choaspes  water,  ready  boiled  for  use,  and 
stored  in  flagons  of  silver,  is  moved  with  him 
from  place  to  place. 

189.  Cyrus  on  his  way  to  Babylon  came  to 
the  banks  of  the  Gyndes,  a  stream  which,  ris- 
ing in  the  Matieman  mountains,  runs  through 
the  country  of  the  Dardamans,  and  empties  it- 
self into  the  river  Tigris.  The  Tigris,  after  re- 
ceiving the  Gyndes,  flows  on  by  the  city  of 
Opis,  and  discharges  its  waters  into  the  Ery- 
thraean sea.  When  Cyrus  reached  this  stream, 
which  could  only  be  passed  in  boats,  one  of  the 
sacred  white  horses  accompanying  his  march, 
full  of  spirit  and  high  mettle,  walked  into  the 
water,  and  tried  to  cross  by  himself;  but  the 
current  seized  him,  swept  him  along  with  it, 
and  drowned  him  in  its  depths.  Cyrus,  enraged 
at  the  insolence  of  the  river,  threatened  so  to 
break  its  strength  that  in  future  even  women 
should  cross  it  easily  without  wetting  their 
knees.  Accordingly  he  put  off  for  a  time  his  at- 
tack on  Babylon,  and,  dividing  his  army  into 
two  parts,  he  marked  out  by  ropes  one  hundred 
and  eighty  trenches  on  each  side  of  the  Gyndes, 
leading  off  from  it  in  all  directions,  and  setting 
his  army  to  dig,  some  on  one  side  of  the  river, 
some  on  the  other,  he  accomplished  his  threat 
by  the  aid  of  so  great  a  number  of  hands,  but 
not  without  losing  thereby  the  whole  summer 


season. 


190.  Having,  however,  thus  wreaked  his 
vengeance  on  the  Gyndes,  by  dispersing  it 
through  three  hundred  and  sixty  channels,  Cy- 


186-193] 


THE  HISTORY 


43 


rus,  with  the  first  approach  of  the  ensuing 
spring,  marched  forward  against  Babylon.  The 
Babylonians,  encamped  without  their  walls, 
awaited  his  coming.  A  battle  was  fought  at  a 
short  distance  from  the  city,  in  which  the  Bab- 
ylonians were  defeated  by  the  Persian  king, 
whereupon  they  withdrew  within  their  de- 
fences. Here  they  shut  themselves  up,  and 
made  light  of  his  siege,  having  laid  in  a  store 
of  provisions  for  many  years  in  preparation 
against  this  attack;  for  when  they  saw  Cyrus 
conquering  nation  after  nation,  they  were  con- 
vinced that  he  would  never  stop,  and  that  their 
turn  would  come  at  last. 

191.  Cyrus  was  now  reduced  to  great  per- 
plexity, as  time  went  on  and  he  made  no  prog- 
ress against  the  place.  In  this  distress  either 
some  one  made  the  suggestion  to  him,  or  he 
bethought  himself  of  a  plan,  which  he  proceed- 
ed to  put  in  execution.  He  placed  a  portion  of 
his  army  at  the  point  where  the  river  enters  the 
city,  and  another  body  at  the  back  of  the  place 
where  it  issues  forth,  with  orders  to  march  into 
the  town  by  the  bed  of  the  stream,  as  soon  as 
the  water  became  shallow  enough:  he  then 
himself  drew  off  with  the  unwarlike  portion  of 
his  host,  and  made  for  the  place  where  Nito- 
cns  dug  the  basin  for  the  river,  where  he  did 
exactly  what  she  had  done  formerly:  he  turned 
the  Euphrates  by  a  canal  into  the  basin,  which 
was  then  a  marsh,  on  which  the  river  sank  to 
such  an  extent  that  the  natural  bed  of  the 
stream  became  fordable.  Hereupon  the  Per- 
sians who  had  been  left  for  the  purpose  at  Bab- 
ylon by  the  river-side,  entered  the  stream, 
which  had  now  sunk  so  as  to  reach  about  mid- 
way up  a  man's  thigh,  and  thus  got  into  the  town. 
Had  the  Babylonians  been  apprised  of  what 
Cyrus  was  about,  or  had  they  noticed  their  dan- 
ger, they  would  never  have  allowed  the  Per- 
sians to  enter  the  city,  but  would  have  de- 
stroyed them  utterly;  for  they  would  have 
made  fast  all  the  street-gates  which  gave  upon 
the  river,  and  mounting  upon  the  walls  along 
both  sides  of  the  stream,  would  so  have  caught 
the  enemy,  as  it  were,  in  a  trap.  But,  as  it  was, 
the  Persians  came  upon  them  by  surprise  and 
so  took  the  city.  Owing  to  the  vast  size  of  the 
place,  the  inhabitants  of  the  central  parts  (as 
the  residents  at  Babylon  declare)  long  after  the 
outer  portions  of  the  town  were  taken,  knew 
nothing  of  what  had  chanced,  but  as  they  were 
engaged  in  a  festival,  continued  dancing  and 
revelling  until  they  learnt  the  capture  but  too 
certainly.  Such,  then,  were  the  circumstances 
of  the  first  taking  of  Babylon. 


192.  Among  many   proofs  which   I   shall 
bring  forward  of  the  power  and  resources  of 
the  Babylonians,  the  following  is  of  special  ac- 
count. The  whole  country  under  the  dominion 
of  the  Persians,  besides  paying  a  fixed  tribute, 
is  parcelled  out  into  divisions,  which  have  to 
supply  food  to  the  Great  King  and  his  army 
during  different  portions  of  the  year.  Now  out 
of  the  twelve  months  which  go  to  a  year,  the 
district  of  Babylon  furnishes  food  during  four, 
the  other  regions  of  Asia  during  eight;  by 
which  it  appears  that  Assyria,  in  respect  of  re- 
sources, is  one-third  of  the  whole  of  Asia.  Of 
all  the  Persian  governments,  or  satrapies  as 
they  are  called  by  the  natives,  this  is  by  far  the 
best.  When  Tritantaechmes,  son  of  Artabazus, 
held  it  of  the  king,  it  brought  him  in  an  artaba 
of  silver  every  day.  The  artaba  is  a  Persian  mea- 
sure, and  holds  three  chcenixes  more  than  the 
medimnus  of  the  Athenians.  He  also  had,  be- 
longing to  his  own  private  stud,  besides  war- 
horses,  eight  hundred  stallions   and   sixteen 
thousand  mares,  twenty  to  each  stallion.  Be- 
sides which  he  kept  so  great  a  number  of  In- 
dian hounds,  that  four  large  villages  of  the 
plain  were  exempted  from  all  other  charges  on 
condition  of  finding  them  in  food. 

193.  But  little  rain  falls  in  Assyria,  enough, 
however,  to  make  the  corn  begin  to  sprout,  aft- 
er which  the  plant  is  nourished  and  the  ears 
formed  by  means  of  irrigation  from  the  river. 
For  the  river  does  not,  as  in  Egypt,  overflow 
the  corn-lands  of  its  own  accord,  but  is  spread 
over  them  by  the  hand,  or  by  the  help  of  en- 
gines. The  whole  of  Babylonia  is,  like  Egypt, 
intersected  with  canals.  The  largest  of  them  all, 
which  runs  towards  the  winter  sun,  and  is  im- 
passable except  in  boats,  is  carried  from  the 
Euphrates  into  another  stream,  called  the  Ti- 
gris, the  river  upon  which  the  town  of  Nineveh 
formerly  stood.  Of  all  the  countries  that  we 
know  there  is  none  which  is  so  fruitful  in 
grain.  It  makes  no  pretension  indeed  of  grow- 
ing the  fig,  the  olive,  the  vine,  or  any  other 
tree  of  the  kind;  but  in  grain  it  is  so  fruitful  as 
to    yield   commonly    two-hundred-fold,    and 
when  the  production  is  the  greatest,  even  three- 
hundred-fold.  The  blade  of  the  wheat-plant 
and    barley-plant    is    often    four    fingers    in 
breadth.  As  for  the  millet  and  the  sesame,  I 
shall  not  say  to  what  height  they  grow,  though 
within  my  own  knowledge;  for  I  am  not  igno- 
rant that  what  I  have  already  written  concern- 
ing the  fruitfulness  of  Babylonia  must  seem  in- 
credible to  those  who  have  never  visited  the 
country.  The  only  oil  they  use  is  made  from 


44 


HERODOTUS 


[  BOOK  i 


the  sesame-plant.  Palm-trees  grow  in  great 
numbers  over  the  whole  of  the  flat  country, 
mostly  of  the  kind  which  bears  fruit,  and  this 
fruit  supplies  them  with  bread,  wine,  and  hon- 
ey. They  are  cultivated  like  the  fig-tree  in  all 
respects,  among  others  in  this.  The  natives  tie 
the  fruit  of  the  male-palms,  as  they  are  called 
by  the  Greeks,  to  the  branches  of  the  date-bear- 
ing palm,  to  let  the  gall-fly  enter  the  dates  and 
ripen  them,  and  to  prevent  the  fruit  from  fall- 
ing of!.  The  male-palms,  like  the  wild  fig-trees, 
have  usually  the  gall-fly  in  their  fruit. 

194.  But  that  which  surprises  me  most  in  the 
land,  after  the  city  itself,  I  will  now  proceed 
to  mention.  The  boats  which  come  down  the 
river  to  Babylon  are  circular,  and  made  of 
skins.  The  frames,  which  are  of  willow,  are  cut 
in  the  country  of  the  Armenians  above  Assyria, 
and  on  these,  which  serve  for  hulls,  a  covering 
of  skins  is  stretched  outside,  and  thus  the  boats 
are  made,  without  cither  stem  or  stern,  quite 
round  like  a  shield.  They  are  then  entirely 
filled  with  straw,  and  their  cargo  is  put  on 
board,  after  which  they  are  suffered  to  float 
down  the  stream.  Their  chief  freight  is  wine, 
stored  in  casks  made  of  the  wood  of  the  palm- 
tree.  They  are  managed  by  two  men  who  stand 
upright  in  them,  each  plying  an  oar,  one  pull- 
ing and  the  other  pushing.  The  boats  are  of 
various  sizes,  some  larger,  some  smaller;  the 
biggest  reach  as  high  as  five  thousand  talents' 
burthen.  Each  vessel  has  a  live  ass  on  board; 
those  of  larger  size  have  more  than  one.  When 
they  reach  Babylon,  the  cargo  is  landed  and 
offered  for  sale;  after  which  the  men  break 
up  their  boats,  sell  the  straw  and  the  frames, 
and  loading  their  asses  with  the  skins,  set 
of!  on  their  way  back  to  Armenia.  The  current 
is  too  strong  to  allow  a  boat  to  return  up- 
stream, for  which  reason  they  make  their  boats 
of  skins  rather  than  wood.  On  their  return  to 
Armenia  they  build  fresh  boats  for  the  next 
voyage. 

195.  The  dress  of  the  Babylonians  is  a  linen 
tunic  reaching  to  the  feet,  and  above  it  another 
tunic  made  in  wool,  besides  which  they  have  a 
short  white  cloak  thrown  round  them,  and 
shoes  of  a  peculiar  fashion,  not  unlike  those 
worn  by  the  Boeotians.  They  have  long  hair, 
wear  turbans  on  their  heads,  and  anoint  their 
whole  body  with  perfumes.  Every  one  carries  a 
seal,  and  a  walking-stick,  carved  at  the  top  into 
the  form  of  an  apple,  a  rose,  a  lily,  an  eagle,  or 
something  similar;  for  it  is  not  their  habit  to 
use  a  stick  without  an  ornament. 

196.  Of  their  customs,  whereof  I  shall  now 


proceed  to  give  an  account,  the  following 
(which  I  understand  belongs  to  them  in  com- 
mon with  the  Illyrian  tribe  of  the  Eneti)  is  the 
wisest  in  my  judgment.  Once  a  year  in  each  vil- 
lage the  maidens  of  age  to  marry  were  collected 
all  together  into  one  place;  while  the  men  stood 
round  them  in  a  circle.  Then  a  herald  called  up 
the  damsels  one  by  one,  and  offered  them  for 
sale.  He  began  with  the  most  beautiful.  When 
she  was  sold  for  no  small  sum  of  money,  he 
offered  for  sale  the  one  who  came  next  to  her 
in  beauty.  All  of  them  were  sold  to  be  wives. 
The  richest  of  the  Babylonians  who  wished  to 
wed  bid  against  each  other  for  the  loveliest 
maidens,  while  the  humbler  wife-seekers,  who 
were  indifTerent  about  beauty,  took  the  more 
homely  damsels  with  marriage-portions.  For 
the  custom  was  that  when  the  herald  had  gone 
through  the  whole  number  of  the  beautiful 
damsels,  he  should  then  call  up  the  ugliest — a 
cripple,  if  there  chanced  to  be  one — and  offer 
her  to  the  men,  asking  who  would  agree  to 
take  her  with  the  smallest  marriage-portion. 
And  the  man  who  offered  to  take  the  smallest 
sum  had  her  assigned  to  him.  The  marriage- 
portions  were  furnished  by  the  money  paid  for 
the  beautiful  damsels,  and  thus  the  fairer  maid- 
ens portioned  out  the  uglier.  No  one  was  al- 
lowed to  give  his  daughter  in  marriage  to  the 
man  of  his  choice,  nor  might  any  one  carry 
away  the  damsel  whom  he  had  purchased 
without  finding  bail  really  and  truly  to  make 
her  his  wife;  if,  however,  it  turned  out  that 
they  did  not  agree,  the  money  might  be  paid 
back.  All  who  liked  might  come  even  from  dis- 
tant villages  and  bid  for  the  women.  This  was 
the  best  of  all  their  customs,  but  it  has  now 
fallen  into  disuse.  They  have  lately  hit  upon  a 
very  different  plan  to  save  their  maidens  from 
violence,  and  prevent  their  being  torn  from 
them  and  carried  to  distant  cities,  which  is  to 
bring  up  their  daughters  to  be  courtesans.  This 
is  now  done  by  all  the  poorer  of  the  common 
people,  who  since  the  conquest  have  been  mal- 
treated by  their  lords,  and  have  had  ruin 
brought  upon  their  families. 

197.  The  following  custom  seems  to  me  the 
wisest  of  their  institutions  next  to  the  one  late- 
ly praised.  They  have  no  physicians,  but  when 
a  man  is  ill,  they  lay  him  in  the  public  square, 
and  the  passers-by  come  up  to  him,  and  if  they 
have  ever  had  his  disease  themselves  or  have 
known  any  one  who  has  suffered  from  it,  they 
give  him  advice,  recommending  him  to  do 
whatever  they  found  good  in  their  own  case, 
or  in  the  case  known  to  them;  and  no  one  is  al- 


194-203] 


THE  HISTORY 


45 


lowed  to  pass  the  sick  man  in  silence  without 
asking  him  what  his  ailment  is. 

198.  They  bury  their  dead  in  honey,  and 
have  funeral  lamentations  like  the  Egyptians. 
When  a  Babylonian  has  consorted  with  his 
wife,  he  sits  down  before  a  censer  of  burning 
incense,  and  the  woman  sits  opposite  to  him. 
At  dawn  of  day  they  wash;  for  till  they  are 
washed  they  will  not  touch  any  of  their  com- 
mon vessels.  This  practice  is  observed  also  by 
the  Arabians. 

199.  The  Babylonians  have  one  most  shame- 
ful custom.  Every  woman  born  in  the  country 
must  once  in  her  life  go  and  sit  down  in  the 
precinct  of  Venus,  and  there  consort  with  a 
stranger.  Many  of  the  wealthier  sort,  who  are 
too  proud  to  mix  with  the  others,  drive  in  cov- 
ered carriages  to  the  precinct,  followed  by  a 
goodly  train  of  attendants,  and  there  take  their 
station.  But  the  larger  number  seat  themselves 
within  the  holy  enclosure  with   wreaths   of 
string  about  their  heads — and  here  there  is  al- 
ways a  great  crowd,  some  coming  and  others 
going;  lines  of  cord  mark  out  paths  in  all  di- 
rections among  the  women,  and  the  strangers 
pass  along  them  to  make  their  choice.  A  wo- 
man who  has  once  taken  her  seat  is  not  al- 
lowed to  return  home  till  one  of  the  strangers 
throws  a  silver  com  into  her  lap,  and  takes  her 
with  him  beyond  the  holy  ground.  When  he 
throws  the  coin  he  says  these  words — "The 
goddess  Mylitta  prosper  thee."  (Venus  is  called 
Myhtta  by  the  Assyrians.)  The  silver  coin  may 
be  of  any  size;  it  cannot  be  refused,  for  that  is 
forbidden  by  the  law,  since  once  thrown  it  is 
sacred.  The  woman  goes  with  the  first  man 
who  throws  her  money,  and  rejects  no  one. 
When  she  has  gone  with  him,  and  so  satisfied 
the  goddess,  she  returns  home,  and  from  that 
time  forth  no  gift  however  great  will  prevail 
with  her.  Such  of  the  women  as  are  tall  and 
beautiful  are  soon  released,  but  others  who  are 
ugly  have  to  stay  a  long  time  before  they  can 
fulfil  the  law.  Some  have  waited  three  or  four 
years  in  the  precinct.  A  custom  very  much  like 
this  is  found  also  in  certain  parts  of  the  island 
of  Cyprus. 

200.  Such  are  the  customs  of  the  Babylon- 
ians generally.  There  are  likewise  three  tribes 
among  them  who  eat  nothing  but  fish.  These 
are  caught  and  dried  in  the  sun,  after  which 
they  are  brayed  in  a  mortar,  and  strained 
through  a  linen  sieve.  Some  prefer  to  make 
cakes  of  this  material,  while  others  bake  it  into 
a  kind  of  bread. 

301.  When  Cyrus  had  achieved  the  conquest 


of  the  Babylonians,  he  conceived  the  desire  of 
bringing  the  Massagetx  under  his  dominion. 
Now  the  Massagetse  are  said  to  be  a  great  and 
warlike  nation,  dwelling  eastward,  toward  the 
rising  of  the  sun,  beyond  the  river  Araxes,  and 
opposite  the  Issedonians.  By  many  they  are  re- 
garded as  a  Scythian  race. 

202.  As  for  the  Araxes,  it  is,  according  to 
some   accounts,  larger,    according  to  others 
smaller  than  the  Ister  (Danube).  It  has  islands 
in  it,  many  of  which  arc  said  to  be  equal  in  size 
to  Lesbos.  The  men  who  inhabit  them  feed 
during  the  summer  on  roots  of  all  kinds,  which 
they  dig  out  of  the  ground,  while  they  store  up 
the  fruits,  which  they  gather  from  the  trees  at 
the  fitting  season,  to  serve  them  as  food  in  the 
winter-time.  Besides  the  trees  whose  fruit  they 
gather  for  this  purpose,  they  have  also  a  tree 
which  bears  the  strangest  produce.  When  they 
are  met  together  in  companies  they  throw  some 
of  it  upon  the  fire  round  which  they  are  sitting, 
and  presently,  by  the  mere  smell  of  the  fumes 
which  it  gives   out  in  burning,   they  grow 
drunk,  as  the  Greeks  do  with  wine.  More  of 
the  fruit  is  then  thrown  on  the  fire,  and,  their 
drunkenness  increasing,  they  often  jump  up 
and  begin  to  dance  and  sing.  Such  is  the  ac- 
count which  I  have  heard  of  this  people. 

The  river  Araxes,  like  the  Gyndes,  which 
Cyrus  dispersed  into  three  hundred  and  sixty 
channels,  has  its  source  in  the  country  of  the 
Matiemans.  It  has  forty  mouths,  whereof  all, 
except  one,  end  in  bogs  and  swamps.  These 
bogs  and  swamps  are  said  to  be  inhabited  by  a 
race  of  men  who  feed  on  raw  fish,  and  clothe 
themselves  with  the  skins  of  seals.  The  other 
mouth  of  the  river  flows  with  a  clear  course 
into  the  Caspian  Sea.1 

203.  The  Caspian  is  a  sea  by  itself,  having  no 
connection  with  any  other.  The  sea  frequented 
by  the  Greeks,  that  beyond  the  Pillars  of  Her- 
cules, which  is  called  the  Atlantic,  and  also  the 
Erythraran,  are  all  one  and  the  same  sea.  But 
the  Caspian  is  a  distinct  sea,  lying  by  itself,  in 
length  fifteen  days'  voyage  with  a  row-boat,  in 
breadth,  at  the  broadest  part,  eight  days'  voy- 
age. Along  its  western  shore  runs  the  chain  of 
the  Caucasus,  the  most  extensive  and  loftiest 
of  all  mountain-ranges.  Many  and  various  are 
the  tribes  by  which  it  is  inhabited,  most  of 
whom  live  entirely  on  the  wild  fruits  of  the 
forest.  In  these  forests  certain  trees  are  said  to 
grow,  from  the  leaves  of  which,  pounded  and 

1  Herodotus  appears  to  have  confused  together 
the  information  which  had  reached  him  concern- 
ing two  or  three  distinct  streams. 


46 


HERODOTUS 


[  BOOK  i 


mixed  with  water,  the  inhabitants  make  a  dye, 
wherewith  they  paint  upon  their  clothes  the 
figures  of  animals;  and  the  figures  so  im- 
pressed never  wash  out,  but  last  as  though  they 
had  been  inwoven  in  the  cloth  from  the  first, 
and  wear  as  long  as  the  garment. 

204.  On  the  west  then,  as  I  have  said,  the 
Caspian  Sea  is  bounded  by  the  range  of  Cau- 
casus. On  the  east  it  is  followed  by  a  vast  plain, 
stretching  out  interminably  before  the  eye,  the 
greater  portion  of  which  is  possessed  by  those 
Massagctx,  against  whom  Cyrus  was  now  so 
anxious  to  make  an  expedition.  Many  strong 
motives  weighed  with  him  and  urged  him  on 
— his   birth  especially,  which  seemed   some- 
thing more  than  human,  and  his  good  fortune 
in  all  his  former  wars,  wherein  he  had  always 
found  that  against  what  country  soever  he 
turned  his  arms,  it  was  impossible  for  that 
people  to  escape. 

205.  At  this  time  the  Massagetae  were  ruled 
by  a  queen,  named  Tomyris,  who  at  the  death 
of  her  husband,  the  late  king,  had  mounted  the 
throne.  To  her  Cyrus  sent  ambassadors,  with 
instructions  to  court  her  on  his  part,  pretending 
that  he  wished  to  take  her  to  wite.  Tomyris, 
however,  aware  that  it  was  her  kingdom,  and 
not  herself,  that  he  courted,  forbade  the  men 
to  approach.  Cyrus,  therefore,  finding  that  he 
did  not  advance  his  designs  by  this  deceit, 
marched  towards  the  A  raxes,  and  openly  dis- 
playing his  hostile  intentions,  set  to  work  to 
construct  a  bridge  on  which  his  army  might 
cross  the  river,  and  began  building  towers  upon 
the  boats  which  were  to  be  used  in  the  passage. 

206.  While  the  Persian  leader  was  occupied 
in  these  labours,  Tomyris  sent  a  herald  to  him, 
who  said,  "King  of  the  Medes,  cease  to  press 
this  enterprise,  for  thou  canst  not  know  if  what 
thou  art  doing  will  be  of  real  advantage  to  thee. 
Be  content  to  rule  in  peace  thy  own  kingdom, 
and  bear  to  see  us  reign  over  the  countries  that 
are  ours  to  govern.  As,  however,  I  know  thou 
wilt  not  choose  to  hearken  to  this  counsel,  since 
there  is  nothing  thou  less  dcsirest  than  peace 
and  quietness,  come  now,  if  thou  art  so  might- 
ily desirous  of  meeting  the  Massageta!  in  arms, 
leave  thy  useless  toil  of  bridge-making;  let  us 
retire  three  days'  march  from  the  river  bank, 
and  do  thou  come  across  with  thy  soldiers;  or, 
if  thou  hkest  better  to  give  us  battle  on  thy  side 
the  stream,  retire  thyself  an  equal  distance." 
Cyrus,  on  this  offer,  called  together  the  chiefs 
of  the  Persians,  and  laid  the  matter  before 
them,  requesting  them  to  advise  him  what  he 
should  do.  All  the  votes  were  in  favour  of  his 


letting  Tomyris  cross  the  stream,  and  giving 
battle  on  Persian  ground. 

207.  But  Croesus  the  Lydian,  who  was  pres- 
ent at  the  meeting  of  the  chiefs,  disapproved 
of  this  advice;  he  therefore  rose,  and  thus  de- 
livered his  sentiments  in  opposition  to  it:  "Oh! 
my  king1  I  promised  thee  long  since,  that,  as 
Jove  had  given  me  into  thy  hands,  I  would,  to 
the  best  of  my  power,  avert  impending  danger 
from  thy  house.  Alas'  my  own  sufferings,  by 
their  very  bitterness,  have  taught  me  to  be 
keen-sighted  of  dangers.  If  thou  deemest  thy- 
self an  immortal,  and  thine  army  an  army  of 
immortals,  my  counsel  will  doubtless  be 
thrown  away  upon  thee.  But  if  thou  feelest  thy- 
self to  be  a  man,  and  a  ruler  of  men,  lay  this 
first  to  heart,  that  there  is  a  wheel  on  which  the 
affairs  of  men  revolve,  and  that  its  movement 
forbids  the  same  man  to  be  always  fortunate. 
Now  concerning  the  matter  in  hand,  my 
judgment  runs  counter  to  the  judgment  of 
thy  other  counsellors.  For  if  thou  agrcest  to 
give  the  enemy  entrance  into  thy  country, 
consider  what  risk  is  run'  Lose  the  battle,  and 
therewith  thy  whole  kingdom  is  lost.  For  as- 
suredly, the  Massagetae,  if  they  win  the  fight, 
will  not  return  to  their  homes,  but  will  push 
forward  against  the  states  of  thy  empire.  Or  if 
thou  gaincst  the  battle,  why,  then  thou  gainest 
far  less  than  if  thou  wert  across  the  stream, 
where  thou  mightcst  follow  up  thy  victory.  For 
against  thy  loss,  if  they  defeat  thee  on  thine 
own  ground,  must  be  set  theirs  in  like  case.  Rout 
their  army  on  the  other  side  of  the  river,  and 
thou  mayest  push  at  once  into  the  heart  of  their 
country.  Moreover,  were  it  not  disgrace  intol- 
erable for  Cyrus  the  son  of  Cambyses  to  retire 
before  and  yield  ground  to  a  woman?  My 
counsel,  therefore,  is  that  we  cross  the  stream, 
and  pushing  forward  as  far  as  they  shall  fall 
back,  then  seek  to  get  the  better  of  them  by 
stratagem.  I  am  told  they  are  unacquainted 
with  the  good  things  on  which  the  Persians 
live,  and  have  never  tasted  the  great  delights  of 
life.  Let  us  then  prepare  a  feast  for  them  in  our 
camp;  let  sheep  be  slaughtered  without  stint, 
and  the  winecups  be  filled  full  of  noble  liquor, 
and  let  all  manner  of  dishes  be  prepared:  then 
leaving  behind  us  our  worst  troops,  let  us  fall 
back  towards  the  river.  Unless  I  very  much 
mistake,  when  they  see  the  good  fare  set  out, 
they  will  forget  all  else  and  fall  to.  Then  it 
will  remain  for  us  to  do  our  parts  manfully." 

208.  Cyrus,  when  the  two  plans  were  thus 
placed  in  contrast  before  him,  changed  his 
mind,  and  preferring  the  advice  which  Croesus 


204-214] 


THE  HISTORY 


47 


had  given,  returned  for  answer  to  Tomyris 
that  she  should  retire,  and  that  he  would  cross 
the  stream.  She  therefore  retired,  as  she  had  en- 
gaged; and  Cyrus,  giving  Croesus  into  the  care 
of  his  son  Cambyses  (whom  he  had  appointed 
to  succeed  him  on  the  throne),  with  strict 
charge  to  pay  him  all  respect  and  treat  him 
well,  it  the  expedition  failed  of  success;  and 
sending  them  both  back  to  Persia,  crossed  the 
river  with  his  army. 

209.  The  first  night  after  the  passage,  as  he 
slept  in  the  enemy's  country,  a  vision  appeared 
to  him.  He  seemed  to  see  in  his  sleep  the  eldest 
of  the  sons  of  Hystaspes,  with  wings  upon  his 
shoulders,  shadowing  with  the  one  wing  Asia, 
and  Europe  with  the  other.  Now  Hystaspes, 
the  son  of  Arsames,  was  of  the  race  of  the 
Achaememdae,  and  his  eldest  son,  Darius,  was 
at  that  time  scarce  twenty  years  old;  wherefore, 
not  being  of  age  to  go  to  the  wars,  he  had  re- 
mained behind  in  Persia.  When  Cyrus  woke 
from  his  sleep,  and  turned  the  vision  over  in 
his  mind,  it  seemed  to  him  no  light  matter.  He% 
therefore  sent  for  Hystaspes,  and  taking  him 
aside  said,  "Hystaspes,  thy  son  is  discovered  to 
be  plotting  against  me  and  my  crown.  I  will 
tell  thee  how  I  know  it  so  certainly.  The  gods 
watch  over  my  safety,  and  warn  me  before- 
hand of  every  danger.  Now  last  night,  as  I  lay 
in  my  bed,  I  saw  in  a  vision  the  eldest  of  thy 
sons  with  wings  upon  his  shoulders,  shadow- 
ing with  the  one  wing  Asia,  and  Europe  with 
the  other.  From  this  it  is  certain,  beyond  all 
possible  doubt,  that  he  is  engaged  in  some  plot 
against  me.  Return  thou  then  at  once  to  Persia, 
and  be  sure,  when  I  come  back  from  conquer- 
ing the  Massagetz,  to  have  thy  son  ready  to 
produce  before  me,  that  I  may  examine  him." 

210.  Thus  Cyrus  spoke,  in  the  belief  that  he 
was  plotted  against  by  Darius;  but  he  missed 
the  true  meaning  of  the  dream,  which  was  sent 
by  God  to  forewarn  him,  that  he  was  to  die 
then  and  there,  and  that  his  kingdom  was  to 
fall  at  last  to  Darius. 

Hystaspes  made  answer  to  Cyrus  in  these 
words: — "Heaven  forbid,  sire,  that  there 
should  be  a  Persian  living  who  would  plot 
against  thee'  If  such  an  one  there  be,  may  a 
speedy  death  overtake  him!  Thou  foundest  the 
Persians  a  race  of  slaves,  thou  hast  made  them 
free  men:  thou  foundest  them  subject  to  others, 
thou  hast  made  them  lords  of  all.  If  a  vision  has 
announced  that  my  son  is  practising  against 
thee,  lo,  I  resign  him  into  thy  hands  to  deal 
with  as  thou  wilt.'*  Hystaspes,  when  he  had 
thus  answered,  rccrossed  the  Araxes  and  has- 


tened back  to  Persia,  to  keep  a  watch  on  his 
son  Darius. 

211.  Meanwhile  Cyrus,  having  advanced  a 
day's  march  from  the  river,  did  as  Croesus  had 
advised  him,  and,  leaving  the  worthless  por- 
tion of  his  army  in  the  camp,  drew  off  with  his 
good   troops  towards   the   river.   Soon   after- 
wards, a  detachment  of  the  Massageta*,  one- 
third  of  their  entire  army,  led  by  Spargapises, 
son  of  the  queen  Tomyris,  coming  up,  fell 
upon  the  body  which  had  been  left  behind  by 
Cyrus,  and  on  their  resistance  put  them  to  the 
sword.  Then,  seeing  the  banquet  prepared, 
they  sat  down  and  began  to  feast.  When  they 
had  eaten  and  drunk  their  fill,  and  were  now 
sunk  in  sleep,  the  Persians  under  Cyrus  ar- 
rived, slaughtered  a  great  multitude,  and  made 
even  a  larger  number  prisoners.  Among  these 
last  was  Spargapises  himself. 

212.  When  Tomyris  heard  what  had  befall- 
en her  son  and  her  army,  she  sent  a  herald  to 
Cyrus,  who  thus  addressed  the  conqueror: — 
"Thou  bloodthirsty  Cyrus,  pride  not  thyself 
on  this  poor  success:  it  was  the  grape-] nice — 
which,  when  ye  drink  it,  makes  you  so  mad, 
and  as  ye  swallow  it  down  brings  up  to  your 
lips  such  bold  and  wicked  words — it  was  this 
poison  wherewith  thou  didst  ensnare  my  child, 
and  so  overcamcst  him,  not  in  fair  open  fight. 
Now  hearken  what  I  advise,  and  be  sure  I  ad- 
vise thee  for  thy  good.  Restore  my  son  to  me 
and  get  thee  from  the  land  unharmed,  trium- 
phant over  a  third  part  of  the  host  o(  the  Mas- 
sageta!.  Refuse,  and  I  swear  by  the  sun,  the  sov- 
ereign lord  of  the  Massaget.c,  bloodthirsty  as 
thou  art,  I  will  give  thee  thy  fill  oi  blood." 

213.  To  the  words  of  this  message  Cyrus 
paid  no  manner  of  regard.  As  for  Spargapises, 
the  son  of  the  queen,  when  the  wine  went  ofT, 
and  he  saw  the  extent  of  his  calamity,  he  made 
request  to  Cyrus  to  release  him  from  his  bonds; 
then,  when  his  prayer  was  granted,  and  the 
fetters  were  taken  from  his  limbs,  as  soon  as  his 
hands  were  free,  he  destroyed  himself. 

214.  Tomyris,  when  she  found  that  Cyrus 
paid  no  heed  to  her  advice,  collected  all  the 
forces  of  her  kingdom,  and  gave  him  battle. 
Of  all  the  combats  in  which  the  barbarians 
have  engaged  among  themselves,  I  reckon  this 
to  have  been  the  fiercest.  The  following,  as  I 
understand,  was  the  manner  of  it: — First,  the 
two  armies  stood  apart  and  shot  their  arrows 
at  each  other;  then,  when  their  quivers  were 
empty,  they  closed  and  fought  hand-to-hand 
with  lances  and  daggers;  and  thus  they  con- 
tinued fighting  for  a  length  of  time,  neither 


48 


HERODOTUS 


choosing  to  give  ground.  At  length  the  Mas- 
sagctae  prevailed.  The  greater  part  of  the  army 
of  the  Persians  was  destroyed  and  Cyrus  him- 
self fell,  after  reigning  nine  and  twenty  years. 
Search  was  made  among  the  slam  by  order  of 
the  queen  for  the  body  of  Cyrus,  and  when  it 
was  found  she  took  a  skin,  and,  filling  it  full 
of  human  blood,  she  dipped  the  head  of  Cyrus 
in  the  gore,  saying,  as  she  thus  insulted  the 
corse,  "I  live  and  have  conquered  thee  in  fight, 
and  yet  by  thee  am  I  ruined,  for  thou  tookest 
my  son  with  guile;  but  thus  I  make  good  my 
threat,  and  give  thee  thy  fill  of  blood."  Of  the 
many  different  accounts  which  are  given  of 
the  death  of  Cyrus,  this  which  I  have  followed 
appears  to  me  most  worthy  of  credit. 

215.  In  their  dress  and  mode  of  living  the 
Massagetae  resemble  the  Scythians.  They  fight 
both  on  horseback  and  on  foot,  neither  method 
is  strange  to  them:  they  use  bows  and  lances, 
but  their  favourite  weapon  is  the  battle-axe. 
Their  arms  are  all  either  of  gold  or  brass.  For 
their  spear-points,  and  arrow-heads,  and  for 
their  battle-axes,  they  make  use  of  brass;  for 
head-gear,  belts,  and  girdles,  of  gold.  So  too 
with  the  caparison  of  their  horses,  they  give 


them  breastplates  of  brass,  but  employ  gold 
about  the  reins,  the  bit,  and  the  cheek-plates. 
They  use  neither  iron  nor  silver,  having  none 
in  their  country;  but  they  have  brass  and  gold 
in  abundance. 

216.  The  following  are  some  of  their  cus- 
toms;— Each  man  has  but  one  wife,  yet  all  the 
wives  are  held  in  common;  for  this  is  a  custom 
of  the  Massagetae  and  not  of  the  Scythians,  as 
the  Greeks  wrongly  say.  Human  life  does  not 
come  to  its  natural  close  with  this  people;  but 
when  a  man  grows  very  old,  all  his  kinsfolk 
collect  together  and  offer  him  up  in  sacrifice; 
offering  at  the  same  time  some  cattle  also.  Af- 
ter the  sacrifice  they  boil  the  flesh  and  feast  on 
it;  and  those  who  thus  end  their  days  are  reck- 
oned the  happiest.  If  a  man  dies  of  disease  they 
do  not  eat  him,  but  bury  him  in  the  ground,  be- 
wailing his  ill-fortune  that  he  did  not  come  to 
be  sacrificed.  They  sow  no  grain,  but  live  on 
their  herds,  and  on  fish,  of  which  there  is  great 
plenty  in  the  Araxes.  Milk  is  what  they  chiefly 
"drink.  The  only  god  they  worship  is  the  sun, 
and  to  him  they  offer  the  horse  in  sacrifice;  un- 
der the  notion  of  giving  to  the  swiftest  of  the 
gods  the  swiftest  of  all  mortal  creatures. 


The  Second  Book,  Entitled 
EUTERPE 


i.  On  the  death  of  Cyrus,  Cambyses  his  son  by 
Cassandane  daughter  of  Pharnaspes  took  the 
kingdom.  Cassandane  had  died  in  the  lifetime 
of  Cyrus,  who  had  made  a  great  mourning  for 
her  at  her  death,  and  had  commanded  all  the 
subjects  of  his  empire  to  observe  the  like.  Cam- 
byses, the  son  of  this  lady  and  of  Cyrus,  regard- 
ing the  Ionian  and  ^olian  Greeks  as  vassals  of 
his  father,  took  them  with  him  m  his  expedi- 
tion against  Egypt  among  the  other  nations 
which  owned  his  sway. 

2.  Now  the  Egyptians,  before  the  reign  of 
their  king  Psammctichus,  believed  themselves 
to  be  the  most  ancient  of  mankind.  Since  Psam- 
metichus,  however,  made  an  attempt  to  discov- 
er who  were  actually  the  primitive  race,  they 
have  been  of  opinion  that  while  they  surpass 
all  other  nations,  the  Phrygians  surpass  them 
in  antiquity.  This  king,  finding  it  impossible  to 
make  out  by  dint  of  inquiry  what  men  were 
the  most  ancient,  contrived  the  following  meth- 
od of  discovery: — He  took  two  children  of  the 
common  sort,  and  gave  them  over  to  a  herds- 
man to  bring  up  at  his  folds,  strictly  charging 
him  to  let  no  one  utter  a  word  in  their  pres- 
ence, but  to  keep  them  in  a  sequestered  cot- 
tage, and  from  time  to  time  introduce  goats  to 
their  apartment,  see  that  they  got  their  fill  of 
milk,  and  in  all  other  respects  look  after  them. 
His  object  herein  was  to  know,  after  the  indis- 
tinct babblings  of  infancy  were  over,  what 
word  they  would  first  articulate.  It  happened 
as  he  had  anticipated.  The  herdsman  obeyed 
his  orders  for  two  years,  and  at  the  end  of  that 
time,  on  his  one  day  opening  the  door  of  their 
room  and  going  in,  the  children  both  ran  up  to 
him  with  outstretched  arms,  and  distinctly  said 
"Becos."  When  this  first  happened  the  herds- 
man took  no  notice;  but  afterwards  when  he 
observed,  on  coming  often  to  see  after  them, 
that  the  word  was  constantly  in  their  mouths, 
he  informed  his  lord,  and  by  his  command 


brought  the  children  into  his  presence.  Psam- 
metichus  then  himself  heard  them  say  the 
word,  upon  which  he  proceeded  to  make  in- 
quiry what  people  there  was  who  called  any- 
thing "becos,"  and  hereupon  he  learnt  that 
"becos"  was  the  Phrygian  name  for  bread.  In 
consideration  of  this  circumstance  the  Egyp- 
tians yielded  their  claims,  and  admitted  the 
greater  antiquity  of  the  Phrygians. 

3.  That  these  were  the  real  facts  I  learnt  at 
Memphis    from   the   priests   of   Vulcan.   The 
Greeks,  among  other  foolish  tales,  relate  that 
Psammetichus  had  the  children  brought  up  by 
women  whoso  tongues  he  had  previously  cut 
out;  but  the  priests  said  their  bringing  up  was 
such  as  I  have  stated  above.  I  got  much  other 
information  also  from  conversation  with  these 
priests  while  I  was  at  Memphis,  and  I  even 
went  to  Heliopolis  and  to  Thebes,  expressly  to 
try  whether  the  priests  of  those  places  would 
agree  in  their  accounts   with   the   prices  at 
Memphis.  The  Heliopolitans  have  the  reputa- 
tion of  being  the  best  skilled  in  history  of  all 
the  Egyptians.  What  they  told  me  concerning 
their  religion  it  is  not  my  intention  to  repeat, 
except  the  names  of  their  deities,  which  1  be- 
lieve all  men  know  equally.  If  1  relate  anything 
else  concerning  these  matters,  it  will  only  be 
when  compelled  to  do  so  by  the  course  of  my 
narrative. 

4.  Now  with  regard  to  mere  human  matters, 
the  accounts  which  they  gave,  and  in  which  all 
agreed,  were  the  following.  The  Egyptians, 
they  said,  were  the  first  to  discover  the  solar 
year,  and  to  portion  out  its  course  into  twelve 
parts.  They  obtained  this  knowledge  from  the 
stars.  (To  my  mind  they  contrive  their  year 
much  more  cleverly  than  the  Greeks,  for  these 
last  every  other  year  intercalate  a  whole  month, 
but   the   Egyptians,  dividing  the   year   into 
twelve  months  of  thirty  days  each,  add  every 
year  a  space  of  five  days  besides,  whereby  the 


49 


50 


HERODOTUS 


[  BOOK  ii 


circuit  of  the  seasons  is  made  to  return  with 
uniformity.)  The  Egyptians,  they  went  on  to 
affirm,  first  brought  into  use  the  names  of  the 
twelve  gods,  which  the  Greeks  adopted  from 
them;  and  first  erected  altars,  images,  and  tem- 
ples to  the  gods;  and  also  first  engraved  upon 
stone  the  figures  of  animals.  In  most  of  these 
cases  they  proved  to  me  that  what  they  said 
was  true.  And  they  told  me  that  the  first  man 
who  ruled  over  Egypt  was  Men,  and  that  in  his 
time  all  Egypt,  except  the  Thebaic  canton,  was 
a  marsh,  none  of  the  land  below  Lake  Moeris 
then  showing  itself  above  the  surface  of  the 
water.  This  is  a  distance  of  seven  days'  sail 
from  the  sea  up  the  river. 

5.  What  they  said  of  their  country  seemed 
to  me  very  reasonable.  For  any  one  who  sees 
Egypt,  without  having  heard  a  word  about  it 
before,  must  perceive,  if  he  has  only  common 
powers  of  observation,  that  the  Egypt  to  which 
the  Greeks  go  in  their  ships  is  an  acquired 
country,  the  gift  of  the  river.  The  same  is  true 
of  the  land  above  the  lake,  to  the  distance  of 
three   days*    voyage,    concerning   which    the 
Egyptians  say  nothing,  but  which  is  exactly  the 
same  kind  of  country. 

The  following  is  the  general  character  of  the 
region.  In  the  first  place,  on  approaching  it 
by  sea,  when  you  are  still  a  day's  sail  from 
the  land,  if  you  let  down  a  sounding-line  you 
will  bring  up  mud,  and  find  yourself  in  eleven 
fathoms*  water,  which  shows  that  the  soil 
washed  down  by  the  stream  extends  to  that 
distance. 

6.  The  length  of  the  country  along  shore,  ac- 
cording to  the  bounds  that  we  assign  to  Egypt, 
namely  from  the  Plinthinetic  gulf  to  Lake  Ser- 
bonis,  which  extends  along  the  base  of  Mount 
Casius,  is  sixty  schoenes.  The  nations  whose  ter- 
ritories are  scanty  measure  them  by  the  fath- 
om; those  whose  bounds  are  less  confined,  by 
the  furlong;  those  who  have  an  ample  territory, 
by  the  parasang;  but  if  men  have  a  country 
which  is  very  vast,  they  measure  it  by  the 
scheme.  Now  the  length  ot  the  parasang  is  thir- 
ty furlongs,  but  the  schcrne,  which  is  an  Egyp- 
tian measure,  is  sixty  furlongs.  Thus  the  coast- 
line of  Egypt  would  extend  a  length  of  three 
thousand  six  hundred  furlongs. 

7.  From  the  coast  inland  as  far  as  Heliopolis 
the  breadth  of  Egypt  is  considerable,  the  coun- 
try is  Bat,  without  springs,  and  full  of  swamps. 
The  length  of  the  route  from  the  sea  up  to  He- 
liopolis is  almost  exactly  the  same  as  that  of  the 
road  which  runs  from  the  altar  of  the  twelve 
gods  at  Athens  to  the  temple  of  Olympian  love 


at  Pisa.  If  a  person  made  a  calculation  he 
would  find  but  a  very  little  difference  between 
the  two  routes,  not  more  than  about  fifteen  fur- 
longs; for  the  road  from  Athens  to  Pisa  falls 
short  of  fifteen  hundred  furlongs  by  exactly 
fifteen,  whereas  the  distance  of  Heliopolis  from 
the  sea  is  just  the  round  number. 

8.  As  one  proceeds  beyond  Heliopolis  up  the 
country,  Egypt  becomes  narrow,  the  Arabian 
range  of  hills,  which  has  a  direction  from  north 
to  south,  shutting  it  in  upon  the  one  side,  and 
the  Libyan  range  upon  the  other.  The  former 
ridge  runs  on  without  a  break,  and  stretches 
away  to  the  sea  called  the  Erythraean;  it  con- 
tains the  quarries  whence  the  stone  was  cut  for 
the  pyramids  of  Memphis:  and  this  is  the  point 
where  it  ceases  its  first  direction,  and  bends 
away  in  the  manner  above  indicated.  In  its 
greatest  length  from  east  to  west  it  is,  as  I  have 
been  informed,  a  distance  of  two  months'  jour- 
ney; towards  the  extreme  east  its  skirts  produce 
frankincense.  Such  are  the  chief  features  of 
this  range.  On  the  Libyan  side,  the  other  ridge 
whereon  the  pyramids  stand  is  rocky  and  cov- 
ered with  sand;  its  direction  is  the  same  as  that 
of  the  Arabian  ridge  in  the  first  part  of  its 
course.  Above  Heliopolis,  then,  there  is  no 
great  breadth  of  territory  for  such  a  country  as 
Egypt,  but  during  four  days'  sail  Egypt  is  nar- 
row; the  valley  between  the  two  ranges  is  a  lev- 
el plain,  and  seemed  to  me  to  be,  at  the  narrow- 
est point,  not  more  than  two  hundred  furlongs 
across  from  the  Arabian  to  the  Libyan  hills. 
Above  this  point  Egypt  again  widens. 

9.  From  Heliopolis  to  Thebes  is  nine  days' 
sail  up  the  river;  the  distance  is  eighty-one 
schoenes,  or  4860  furlongs.  If  we  now  put  to- 
gether the  several  measurements  of  the  country 
we  shall  find  that  the  distance  along  shore  is,  as 
I  stated  above,  3600  furlongs,  and  the  distance 
from  the  sea  inland  to  Thebes  6120  furlongs. 
Further,  it  is  a  distance  of  eighteen  hundred 
furlongs  from  Thebes  to  the  place  called  Ele- 
phantine. 

10.  The  greater  portion  of  the  country  above 
described  seemed  to  me  to  be,  as  the  priests  de- 
clared, a  tract  gained  by  the  inhabitants.  For 
the  whole  region  above  Memphis,  lying  be- 
tween the  two  ranges  of  hills  that  have  been 
spoken  of,  appeared  evidently  to  have  formed 
at  one  time  a  gulf  of  the  sea.  It  resembles  (to 
compare  small  things  with  great)  the  parts 
about  Ilium  and  Teuthrama,  Ephesus,  and  the 
plain  of  the  Maeander.  In  all  these  regions  the 
land  has  been  formed  by  rivers,  whereof  the 
greatest  is  not  to  compare  for  size  with  any  one 


THE  HISTORY 


51 


of  the  five  mouths  of  the  Nile.  I  could  mention 
other  rivers  also,  far  inferior  to  the  Nile  in 
magnitude,  that  have  effected  very  great 
changes.  Among  these  not  the  least  is  the  Ache- 
loiis,  which,  after  passing  through  Acarnania, 
empties  itself  into  the  sea  opposite  the  islands 
called  Echinades,  and  has  already  joined  one- 
half  of  them  to  the  continent. 

11.  In  Arabia,  not  far  from  Egypt,  there  is 
a  long  and  narrow  gulf  running  inland  from 
the  sea  called  the  Erythraean,  of  which  I  will 
here  set  down  the  dimensions.  Starting  from 
its  innermost  recess,  and  using  a  row-boat,  you 
take  forty  days  to  reach  the  open  main,  while 
you  may  cross  the  gulf  at  its  widest  part  in  the 
space  of  half  a  day.  In  this  sea  there  is  an  ebb 
and  flow  of  the  tide  every  day.  My  opinion  is 
that  Egypt  was  formerly  very  much  such  a  gulf 
as  this — one  gulf  penetrated  from  the  sea  that 
washes  Egypt  on  the  north,  and  extended  itself 
towards  Ethiopia;  another  entered  from  the 
southern  ocean,  and  stretched  towards  Syria; 
the  two  gulfs  ran  into  the  land  so  as  almost  to 
meet  each  other,  and  left  between  them  only  a 
very  narrow  tract  of  country.  Now  if  the  Nile 
should  choose  to  divert  his  waters  from  their 
present  bed  into  this  Arabian  gulf,  what  is 
there  to  hinder  it  from  being  filled  up  by  the 
stream  within,  at  the  utmost,  twenty  thousand 
years ?  For  my  part,  I  think  it  would  be  filled 
in  half  the  time.  How  then  should  not  a  gulf, 
even  of  much  greater  size,  have  been  filled  up 
in  the  ages  that  passed  before  I  was  born,  by  a 
river  that  is  at  once  so  large  and  so  given  to 
working  changes? 

12.  Thus  I  give  credit  to  those  from  whom  I 
received  this  account  of  Egypt,  and  am  myself, 
moreover,  strongly  of  the  same  opinion,  since 
I  remarked  that  the  country  projects  into  the 
sea  further  than  the  neighbouring  shores,  and 
I  observed  that  there  were  shells  upon  the  hills, 
and  that  salt  exuded  from  the  soil  to  such  an 
extent  as  even  to  injure  the  pyramids;  and  I  no- 
ticed also  that  there  is  but  a  single  hill  in  ail 
Egypt  where  sand  is  found,  namely,  the  hill 
above  Memphis;  and  further,  I  found  the  coun- 
try to  bear  no  resemblance  either  to  its  border- 
land Arabia,  or  to  Libya — nay,  nor  even  to  Syr- 
ia, which  forms  the  seaboard  of  Arabia;  but 
whereas  the  soil  of  Libya  is,  we  know,  sandy 
and  of  a  reddish  hue,  and  that  of  Arabia  and 
Syria  inclines  to  stone  and  clay,  Egypt  has  a 
soil  that  is  black  and  crumbly,  as  being  alluvial 
and  formed  of  the  deposits  brought  down  by 
the  river  from  Ethiopia. 

13.  One  fact  which  I  learnt  of  the  priests  is 


to  me  a  strong  evidence  of  the  origin  of  the 
country.  They  said  that  when  Mceris  was  king, 
the  Nile  overflowed  all  Egypt  below  Memphis, 
as  soon  as  it  rose  so  little  as  eight  cubits.  Now 
Mceris  had  not  been  dead  900  years  at  the  time 
when  I  heard  this  of  the  priests;  yet  at  the  pres- 
ent day,  unless  the  river  rise  sixteen,  or,  at  the 
very  least,  fifteen  cubits,  it  does  not  overflow 
the  lands.  It  seems  to  me,  therefore,  that  if  the 
land  goes  on  rising  and  growing  at  this  rate, 
the  Egyptians  who  dwell  below  Lake  Mceris,  in 
the  Delta  (as  it  is  called)  and  elsewhere,  will 
one  day,  by  the  stoppage  of  the  inundations, 
suffer  permanently  the  fate  which  they  told  me 
they  expected  would  some  time  or  other  befall 
the  Greeks.  On  hearing  that  the  whole  land  of 
Greece  is  watered  by  rain  from  heaven,  and 
not,  like  their  own,  inundated  by  rivers,  they 
observed — "Some  day  the  Greeks  will  be  disap- 
pointed of  their  grand  hope,  and  then  they  will 
be  wretchedly  hungry";  which  was  as  much  as 
to  say,  "If  God  shall  some  day  see  fit  not  to 
grant  the  Greeks  rain,  but  shall  afflict  them 
with  a  long  drought,  the  Greeks  will  be  swept 
away  by  a  famine,  since  they  have  nothing  to 
rely  on  but  ram  from  Jove,  and  have  no  other 
resource  for  water." 

14.  And  certes,  in  thus  speaking  of  the 
Greeks  the  Egyptians  say  nothing  but  what  is 
true.  But  now  let  me  tell  the  Egyptians  how 
the  case  stands  with  themselves.  If,  as  I  said  be- 
fore, the  country  below  Memphis,  which  is  the 
land  that  is  always  rising,  continues  to  increase 
in  height  at  the  rate  at  which  it  has  risen  in 
times  gone  by,  how  will  it  be  possible  for  the 
inhabitants  of  that  region  to  avoid  hunger, 
when  they  will  certainly  have  no  rain,  and  the 
river  will  not  be  able  to  overflow  their  corn- 
lands?  At  present,  it  must  be  confessed,  they 
obtain  the  fruits  of  the  field  with  less  trouble 
than  any  other  people  in  the  world,  the  rest  of 
the  Egyptians  included,  since  they  have  no 
need  to  break  up  the  ground  with  the  plough, 
nor  to  use  the  hoe,  nor  to  do  any  of  the  work 
which  the  rest  of  mankind  find  necessary  if 
they  are  to  get  a  crop;  but  the  husbandman 
waits  till  the  river  has  of  its  own  accord  spread 
itself  over  the  fields  and  withdrawn  again  to 
its  bed,  and  then  sows  his  plot  of  ground,  and 
after  sowing  turns  his  swine  into  it — the  swine 
tread  in  the  corn — after  which  he  has  only  to 
await  the  harvest.  The  swine  serve  him  also 
to  thrash  the  grain,  which  is  then  carried  to 
the  garner. 

15.  If  then  we  choose  to  adopt  the  views  of 
the  lonians  concerning  Egypt,  we  must  come 


52 


HERODOTUS 


BOOK  ii 


to  the  conclusion  that  the  Egyptians  had  form- 
erly no  country  at  all.  For  the  lonians  say  that 
nothing  is  really  Egypt  but  the  Delta,  which 
extends  along  shore  from  the  Watch-tower  of 
Perseus,  as  it  is  called,  to  the  Pelusiac  Salt-Pans, 
a  distance  of  forty  schcenes,  and  stretches  in- 
land as  far  as  the  city  of  Cercasorus,  where  the 
Nile  divides  into  the  two  streams  which  reach 
the  sea  at  Pelusium  and  Canobus  respectively. 
The  rest  of  what  is  accounted  Egypt  belongs, 
they  say,  either  to  Arabia  or  Libya.  But  the 
Delta,  as  the  Egyptians  affirm,  and  as  I  myself 
am  persuaded,  is  formed  of  the  deposits  of  the 
river,  and  has  only  recently,  if  I  may  use  the 
expression,  come  to  light.  If,  then,  they  had 
formerly  no  territory  at  all,  how  came  they  to 
be  so  extravagant  as  to  fancy  themselves  the 
most  ancient  race  in  the  world?  Surely  there 
was  no  need  of  their  making  the  experiment 
with  the  children  to  see  what  language  they 
would  first  speak.  But  in  truth  I  do  not  believe 
that  the  Egyptians  came  into  being  at  the  same 
time  with  the  Delta,  as  the  lonians  call  it;  I 
think  they  have  always  existed  ever  since  the 
human  race  began;  as  the  land  went  on  in- 
creasing, part  of  the  population  came  down 
into  the  new  country,  part  remained  in  their 
old  settlements.  In  ancient  times  the  Thebais 
bore  the  name  of  Egypt,  a  district  of  which  the 
entire  circumference  is  but  6120  furlongs. 

1 6.  If,  then,  my  judgment  on  these  matters 
be  right,  the  lonians  are  mistaken  in  what  they 
say  ofr  Egypt.  If,  on  the  contrary,  it  is  they  who 
are  right,  then  I  undertake  to  show  that  neither 
the  lonians  nor  any  ot  the  other  Greeks  know 
how  to  count.  For  they  all  say  that  the  earth  is 
divided  into  three  parts,  Europe,  Asia,  and 
Libya,  whereas  they  ought  to  add  a  fourth  part, 
the  Delta  of  Egypt,  since  they  do  not  include  it 
either  in  Asia  or  Libya.  For  is  it  not  their 
theory  that  the  Nile  separates  Asia  from  Lib- 
ya? As  the  Nile,  therefore,  splits  in  two  at  the 
apex  of  the  Delta,  the  Delta  itself  must  be  a 
separate  country,  not  contained  in  either  Asia 
or  Libya. 

17.  Here  I  take  my  leave  of  the  opinions  of 
the  lonians,  and  proceed  to  deliver  my  own 
sentiments  on  these  subjects.  I  consider  Egypt 
to  be  the  whole  country  inhabited  by  the  Egyp- 
tians, just  as  Cilicia  is  the  tract  occupied  by  the 
Cilicians,  and  Assyria  that  possessed  by  the  As- 
syrians. And  I  regard  the  only  proper  boun- 
dary-line between  Libya  and  Asia  to  be  that 
which  is  marked  out  by  the  Egyptian  frontier. 
For  if  we  take  the  boundary-line  commonly  re- 
ceived by  the  Greeks,  we  must  regard  Egypt 


as  divided,  along  its  whole  length  from  Ele- 
phantine and  the  Cataracts  to  Cercasorus,  into 
two  parts,  each  belonging  to  a  different  por- 
tion of  the  world,  one  to  Asia,  the  other  to  Lib- 
ya; since  the  Nile  divides  Egypt  in  two  from 
the  Cataracts  to  the  sea,  running  as  far  as  the 
city  of  Cercasorus  in  a  single  stream,  but  at  that 
point  separating  into  three  branches,  whereof 
the  one  which  bends  eastward  is  called  the  Pel- 
usiac mouth,  and  that  which  slants  to  the  west, 
the  Canobic.  Meanwhile  the  straight  course  of 
the  stream,  which  comes  down  from  the  upper 
country  and  meets  the  apex  of  the  Delta,  con- 
tinues on,  dividing  the  Delta  down  the  middle, 
and  empties  itself  into  the  sea  by  a  mouth, 
which  is  as  celebrated,  and  carries  as  large  a 
body  of  water,  as  most  of  the  others,  the  mouth 
called  the  Sebennytic.  Besides  these  there  are 
two  other  mouths  which  run  out  of  the  Seben- 
nytic called  respectively  the  Saitic  and  the  Men- 
dcsian.  The  Bolbitme  mouth,  and  the  Bucolic, 
are  not  natural  branches,  but  channels  made  by 
excavation. 

18.  My  judgment  as  to  the  extent  of  Egypt 
is  confirmed  by  an  oracle  delivered   at  the 
shrmc  of  Ammon,  of  which  I  had  no  knowl- 
edge at  all  until  after  I  had  formed  my  opin- 
ion. It  happened  that  the  people  of  the  cities 
Marea  and  Apis,  who  live  in  the  part  of  Egypt 
that  borders  on  Libya,  took  a  dislike  to  the  re- 
ligious usages  of  the  country  concerning  sac- 
rificial animals,  and  wished  no  longer  to  be  re- 
stricted rrom  eating  the  flesh  of  cows.  So,  as 
they  believed  themselves  to  be  Libyans  and  not 
Egyptians,  they  sent  to  the  shrine  to  say  that, 
having  nothing  in  common  with  the  Egyp- 
tians, neither  inhabiting  the  Delta  nor  using 
the  Egyptian  tongue,  they  claimed  to  be  al- 
lowed to  eat  whatever  they  pleased.  Their  re- 
quest, however,  was  refused  by  the  god,  who 
declared  in  reply  that  Egypt  was  the  entire 
tract  of  country  which  the  Nile  overspreads 
and  irrigates,  and  the  Egyptians  were  the  peo- 
ple who  lived  below  Elephantine,  and  drank 
the  waters  of  that  river. 

19.  So  said  the  oracle.  Now  the  Nile,  when 
it  overflows,  floods  not  only  the  Delta,  but  also 
the  tracts  of  country  on  both  sides  the  stream 
which  are  thought  to  belong  to  Libya  and  Ara- 
bia, in  some  places  reaching  to  the  extent  of 
two  days'  journey  from  its  banks,  in  some  even 
exceeding  that  distance,  but  in  others  falling 
short  of  it. 

Concerning  the  nature  of  the  river,  I  was  not 
able  to  gain  any  information  either  from  the 
priests  or  from  others.  I  was  particularly  anx- 


16-25] 

ious  to  learn  from  them  why  the  Nile,  at  the 
commencement  of  the  summer  solstice,  begins 
to  rise,  and  continues  to  increase  for  a  hundred 
days — and  why,  as  soon  as  that  number  is  past, 
it  forthwith  retires  and  contracts  its  stream, 
continuing  low  during  the  whole  of  the  winter 
until  the  summer  solstice  comes  round  again. 
On  none  of  these  points  could  I  obtain  any  ex- 
planation from  the  inhabitants,  though  I  made 
every  inquiry,  wishing  to  know  what  was  com- 
monly reported — they  could  neither  tell  me 
what  special  virtue  the  Nile  has  which  makes 
it  so  opposite  in  its  nature  to  all  other  streams, 
nor  why,  unlike  every  other  river,  it  gives  forth 
no  breezes  from  its  surface. 

20.  Some  of  the  Greeks,  however,  wishing 
to  get  a  reputation  for  cleverness,  have  offered 
explanations  of  the  phenomena  of  the  river, 
for  which  they  have  accounted  in  three  differ- 
ent ways.  Two  of  these  I  do  not  think  it  worth 
while  to  speak  of,  further  than  simply  to  men- 
tion what  they  are.  One  pretends  that  the  Ete- 
sian winds  cause  the  rise  of  the  river  by  pre- 
venting the  Nile- water  from  running  off  into 
the  sea.  But  in  the  first  place  it  has  often  hap- 
pened, when  the  Etesian  winds  did  not  blow, 
that  the  Nile  has  risen  according  to  its  usual 
wont;  and  further,  if  the  Etesian  winds  pro- 
duced the  effect,  the  other  rivers  which  flow  in 
a  direction  opposite  to  those  winds  ought  to 
present  the  same  phenomena  as  the  Nile,  and 
the  more  so  as  they  are  all  smaller  streams,  and 
have  a  weaker  current.  But  these  rivers,  of 
which  there  are  many  both  in  Syria  and  Libya, 
are  entirely  unlike  the  Nile  in  this  respect. 

21.  The  second  opinion  is  even  more  unsci- 
entific than  the  one  just  mentioned,  and  also, 
if  I  may  so  say,  more  marvellous.  It  is  that  the 
Nile  acts  so  strangely,  because  it  flows  from  the 
ocean,  and  that  the  ocean  flows  all  round  the 
earth. 

22.  The  third  explanation,  which  is  very 
much  more  plausible  than  either  of  the  others, 
is  positively  the  furthest  from  the  truth;  for 
there  is  really  nothing  in  what  it  says,  any  more 
than  in  the  other  theories.  It  is,  that  the  inun- 
dation of  the  Nile  is  caused  by  the  melting  of 
snows.1  Now,  as  the  Nile  flows  out  of  Libya, 
through  Ethiopia,  into  Egypt,  how  is  it  possible 
that  it  can  be  formed  of  melted  snow,  running, 

1  Herodotus  is  wrong  in  supposing  snow  could 
not  be  found  on  mountains  in  the  hot  climate  of 
Africa;  perpetual  snow  is  not  confined  to  certain 
latitudes;  and  ancient  and  modern  discoveries 
prove  that  it  is  found  in  the  ranges  S.  of  Abys- 
sinia. 


THE  HISTORY 


53 


as  it  docs,  from  the  hottest  regions  of  the  world 
into  cooler  countries?  Many  are  the  proofs 
whereby  any  one  capable  of  reasoning  on  the 
subject  may  be  convinced  that  it  is  most  un- 
likely this  should  be  the  case.  The  first  and 
strongest  argument  is  furnished  by  the  winds, 
which  always  blow  hot  from  these  regions.  The 
second  is  that  rain  and  frost  are  unknown 
there.2  Now  whenever  snow  falls,  it  must  of 
necessity  rain  within  five  days;  so  that,  if  there 
were  snow,  there  must  be  rain  also  in  those 
parts.  Thirdly,  it  is  certain  that  the  natives  of 
the  country  are  black  with  the  heat,  that  the 
kites  and  the  swallows  remain  there  the  whole 
year,  and  that  the  cranes,  when  they  fly  from 
the  rigours  of  a  Scythian  winter,  flock  thither 
to  pass  the  cold  season.  If  then,  in  the  country 
whence  the  Nile  has  its  source,  or  in  that 
through  which  it  flows,  there  fell  ever  so  little 
snow,  it  is  absolutely  impossible  that  any  of 
these  circumstances  could  take  place. 

23.  As  for  the  writer3  who  attributes  the 
phenomenon  to  the  ocean,  his  account  is  in- 
volved in  such  obscurity  that  it  is  impossible 
to  disprove  it  by  argument.  For  my  part  I 
know  of  no  river  called  Ocean,  and  I  think  that 
Homer,  or  one  of  the  earlier  poets,  invented  the 
name,  and  introduced  it  into  his  poetry. 

24.  Perhaps,  after  censuring  all  the  opinions 
that  have  been  put  forward  on  this  obscure  sub- 
ject, one  ought  to  propose  some  theory  of  one's 
own.  I  will  therefore  proceed  to  explain  what 
I  think  to  be  the  reason  of  the  Nile's  swelling 
in  the  summer  time.  During  the  winter,  the 
sun  is  driven  out  of  his  usual  course  by  the 
storms,  and  removes  to  the  upper  parts  of  Lib- 
ya. This  is  the  whole  secret  in  the  fewest  possi- 
ble words;  for  it  stands  to  reason  that  the  coun- 
try to  which  the  Sun-god  approaches  the  near- 
est, and  which  he  passes  most  directly  over, 
will  be  scantest  of  water,  and  that  there  the 
streams  which  feed  the  rivers  will  shrink  the 
most. 

25.  To  explain,  however,  more  at  length,  the 
case  is  this.  The  sun,  in  his  passage  across  the 
upper  parts  of  Libya,  affects  them  in  the  fol- 
lowing way.  As  the  air  in  those  regions  is  con- 
stantly clear,  and  the  country  warm  through 
the  absence  of  cold  winds,  the  sun  in  his 
passage  across  them  acts  upon   them  exact- 
ly as  he  is  wont  to  act  elsewhere  in  summer, 
when  his  path  is  in  the  middle  of  heaven — that 

2  Herodotus  was  not  aware  of  the  rainy  season 
in  Sennar  and  the  S.S.W.  of  Abyssinia,  nor  did  he 
know  of  the  Abyssinian  snow. 

3Hecafeeus. 


54 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK  ii 


is,  he  attracts  the  water.  After  attracting  it,  he 
again  repels  it  into  the  upper  regions,  where 
the  winds  lay  hold  of  it,  scatter  it,  and  reduce 
it  to  a  vapour,  whence  it  naturally  enough 
comes  to  pass  that  the  winds  which  blow  from 
this  quarter — the  south  and  south-west — are  of 
all  winds  the  most  rainy.  And  my  own  opinion 
is  that  the  sun  does  not  get  rid  of  all  the  water 
which  he  draws  year  by  year  from  the  Nile, 
but  retains  some  about  him.  When  the  winter 
begins  to  soften,  the  sun  goes  back  again  to  his 
old  place  in  the  middle  of  the  heaven,  and  pro- 
ceeds to  attract  water  equally  from  all  coun- 
tries. Till  then  the  other  rivers  run  big,  from 
the  quantity  of  rain-water  which  they  bring 
down  from  countries  where  so  much  moisture 
falls  that  all  the  land  is  cut  into  gullies;  but  in 
summer,  when  the  showers  fail,  and  the  sun  at- 
tracts their  water,  they  become  low.  The  Nile, 
on  the  contrary,  not  deriving  any  of  its  bulk 
Irom  rains,  and  being  in  winter  subject  to  the 
attraction  of  the  sun,  naturally  runs  at  that  sea- 
son, unlike  all  other  streams,  with  a  less  bur- 
then oi  water  than  in  the  summer  time.  For  in 
summer  it  is  exposed  to  attraction  equally  with 
all  other  rivers,  but  in  winter  it  suffers  alone. 
The  sun,  therefore,  I  regard  as  the  sole  cause 
oi  the  phenomenon. 

26.  It  is  the  sun  also,  in  my  opinion,  which, 
by  heating  the  space  through  which  it  passes, 
makes  the  air  in  Egypt  so  dry.  There  is  thus 
fKTpctual  summer  in  the  upper  parts  of  Libya. 
Were  the  position  of  the  heavenly  regions  re- 
versed, so  that  the  place  where  now  the  north 
wind  and  the  winter  have  their  dwelling  be- 
came the  station  of  the  south  wind  and  of  the 
noon-day,  while,  on  the  other  hand,  the  sta- 
tion ot  the  south  wind  became  that  of  the 
north,  the  consequence  would  be  that  the  sun, 
driven  from  the  mid-heaven  by  the  winter  and 
the  northern  gales,  would  betake  himself  to 
the  upper  parts  of  Europe,  as  he  now  does  to 
those  of  Libya,  and  then  I  believe  his  passage 
across  Europe  would  affect  the  Istcr  exactly  as 
the  Nile  is  affected  at  the  present  day. 

27.  And  with  respect  to  the  fact  that  no 
brcc/c  blows  from  the  Nile,  I  am  of  opinion 
that  no  wind  is  likely  to  arise  in  very  hot  coun- 
tries, for  breezes  love  to  blow  from  some  cold 
quarter. 

28.  Let  us  leave  these  things,  however,  to 
their  natural  course,  to  continue  as  they  are  and 
ha\e  been  from  the  beginning.  With  regard  to 
the  sow ccs  of  the  Nile,  I  have  found  no  one 
among  all  those  with  whom  I  have  conversed, 
\\  hethcr  Egyptians,  Libyans,  or  Greeks,  who 


professed  to  have  any  knowledge,  except  a  sin- 
gle person.  He  was  the  scribe  who  kept  the  reg- 
ister of  the  sacred  treasures  of  Minerva  in  the 
city  of  Sais,  and  he  did  not  seem  to  me  to  be  in 
earnest  when  he  said  that  he  knew  them  per- 
fectly well.  His  story  was  as  follows: — "Be- 
tween Syene,  a  city  of  the  Thebais,  and  Ele- 
phantine, there  are"  (he  said)  "two  hills  with 
sharp  conical  tops;  the  name  of  the  one  is  Cro- 
phi,  of  the  other,  Mophi.  Midway  between 
them  are  the  fountains  of  the  Nile,  fountains 
which  it  is  impossible  to  fathom.  Half  the 
water  runs  northward  into  Egypt,  half  to  the 
south  towards  Ethiopia."  The  fountains  were 
known  to  be  unfathomable,  he  declared,  be- 
cause Psammctichus,  an  Egyptian  king,  had 
made  trial  of  them.  He  had  caused  a  rope  to  be 
made,  many  thousand  fathoms  in  length,  and 
had  sounded  the  fountain  with  it,  but  could 
find  no  bottom.  By  this  the  scribe  gave  me  to 
understand,  if  there  was  any  truth  at  all  in 
what  he  said,  that  in  this  fountain  there  are 
certain  strong  eddies,  and  a  regurgitation,  ow- 
ing to  the  force  wherewith  the  water  dashes 
against  the  mountains,  and  hence  a  sounding- 
line  cannot  be  got  to  reach  the  bottom  of  the 
spring. 

29.  No  other  information  on  this  head  could 
I  obtain  from  any  quarter.  All  that  I  succeeded 
in  learning  further  of  the  more  distant  por- 
tions of:  the  Nile,  by  ascending  myself  as  high 
as  Elephantine,  and  making  inquiries  concern- 
ing the  parts  beyond,  was  the  following: — As 
one  advances  beyond  Elephantine,  the  land 
rises.  Hence  it  is  necessary  in  this  part  of  the 
river  to  attach  a  rope  to  the  boat  on  each  side, 
as  men  harness  an  ox,  and  so  proceed  on  the 
journey.  If  the  rope  snaps,  the  vessel  is  borne 
away  down  stream  by  the  force  of  the  current. 
The  navigation  continues  the  same  for  four 
days,  the  river  winding  greatly,  like  the  Ma-an- 
dcr,  and  the  distance  traversed  amounting  to 
twelve  schocnes.  Here  you  come  upon  a  smooth 
and  level  plain,  where  the  Nile  flows  in  two 
branches,  round  an  island  called  Tachompso. 
The  country  above  Elephantine  is  inhabited  by 
the  Ethiopians,  who  possess  one-half  of  this 
island,  the  Egyptians  occupying  the  other. 
Above  the  island  there  is  a  great  lake,  the 
shores  of  which  are  inhabited  by  Ethiopian  no- 
mads; after  passing  it,  you  come  again  to  the 
stream  of  the  Nile,  which  runs  into  the  lake. 
Here  you  land,  and  travel  for  forty  days  along 
the  banks  of  the  river,  since  it  is  impossible  to 
proceed  further  in  a  boat  on  account  of  the 
sharp  peaks  which  jut  out  from  the  water,  and 


26-32] 

the  sunken  rocks  which  abound  in  that  part  of 
the  stream.  When  you  have  passed  this  portion 
of  the  river  in  the  space  of  torty  days,  you  go 
on  board  another  boat  and  proceed  by  water 
for  twelve  days  more,  at  the  end  of  which  time 
you  reach  a  great  city  called  Meroe,  which  is 
said  to  be  the  capital  of  the  other  Ethiopians. 
The  only  gods  worshipped  by  the  inhabitants 
are  Jupiter  and  Bacchus,  to  whom  great  hon- 
ours are  paid.  There  is  an  oracle  of  Jupiter  in 
the  city,  which  directs  the  warlike  expeditions 
of  the  Ethiopians;  when  it  commands  they  go 
to  war,  and  in  whatever  direction  it  bids  them 
march,  thither  straightway  they  carry  their 
arms. 

30.  On  leaving  this  city,  and  again  mount- 
ing the  stream,  in  the  same  space  of  time  which 
it  took  you  to  reach  the  capital  from  Elephan- 
tine, you  come  to  the  Deserters,  who  bear  the 
name  of  Asmach.  This  word,  translated  into 
our  language,  means  "the  men  who  stand  on 
the  left  hand  of  the  king."  These  Deserters  are 
Egyptians  of  the  warrior  caste,  who,  to  the 
number  of  two  hundred  and  forty  thousand, 
went  over  to  the  Ethiopians  in  the  reign  of 
king  Psammetichus.  The  cause  of  their  deser- 
tion was  the  following: — Three  garrisons  were 
maintained  in  Egypt  at  that  time,  one  in  the 
city  of  Elephantine  against  the  Ethiopians,  an- 
other in  the  Pclusiac  Daphnx,  against  the  Syri- 
ans and  Arabians,  and  a  third,  against  the  Lib- 
yans, in  Marea.  (The  very  same  posts  are  to  this 
day  occupied  by  the  Persians,  whose  forces  are 
in  garrison  both  in  Daphnx  and  in  Elephan- 
tine.) Now  it  happened,  that  on  one  occasion 
the  garrisons  were  not  relieved  during  the 
space  of  three  years;  the  soldiers,  therefore,  at 
the  end  of  that  time,  consulted  together,  and 
having  determined  by  common  consent  to  re- 
volt, marched  away  towards  Ethiopia.  Psam- 
metichus, informed  of  the  movement,  set  out 
in  pursuit,  and  coming  up  with  them,  besought 
them  with  many  words  not  to  desert  the  gods 
of  their  country,  nor  abandon  their  wives  and 
children.  "Nay,  but,"  said  one  of  the  deserters 
with  an  unseemly  gesture,  "wherever  we  go, 
we  are  sure  enough  of  finding  wives  and  chil- 
dren." Arrived  in  Ethiopia,  they  placed  them- 
selves at  the  disposal  of  the  king.  In  return,  he 
made  them  a  present  of  a  tract  of  land  which 
belonged  to  certain  Ethiopians  with  whom  he 
was  at  feud,  bidding  them  expel  the  inhabitants 
and  take  possession  of  their  territory.  From 
the  time  that  this  settlement  was  formed,  their 
acquaintance  with  Egyptian  manners  has  tend- 
ed to  civilise  the  Ethiopians. 


THE  HISTORY 


55 


31.  Thus  the  course  of  the  Nile  is  known, 
not  only  throughout  Egypt,  but  to  the  extent 
of  four  months'  journey  cither  by  land  or  water 
above  the  Egyptian  boundary;  for  on  calcula- 
tion it  will  be  found  that  it  takes  that  length  of 
time  to  travel  from  Elephantine  to  the  country 
of  the  Deserters.  There  the  direction  of  the  riv- 
er is  from  west  to  east.  Beyond,  no  one  has  any 
certain  knowledge  of  its  course,  since  the  coun- 
try is  uninhabited  by  reason  of  the  excessive  heat. 

32.  I  did  hear,  indeed,  what  I  will  now  re- 
late, from  certain  natives  of  Gyrene.  Once  upon 
a  time,  they  said,  they  were  on  a  visit  to  the 
oracular  shrine  of  Ammon,  when  it  chanced 
that  in  the  course  of  conversation  with  Etear- 
chus,  the  Arnmoman  king,  the  talk  fell  upon 
the  Nile,  how  that  its  sources  were  unknown  to 
all  men.  Etearchus  upon  this  mentioned  that 
some  Nasamomans  had  once  come  to  his  court, 
and  when  asked  if  they  could  give  any  infor- 
mation concerning  the  uninhabited  parts  of 
Libya,  had  told  the  following  tale.  (The  Nasa- 
monians  are  a  Libyan  race  who  occupy  the  Syr- 
tis,  and  a  tract  of  no  great  size  towards  the 
east.)  They  said  there  had  grown  up  among 
them  some  wild  young  men,  the  sons  of  cer- 
tain chiefs,  who,  when  they  came  to  man's  es- 
tate, indulged  in  all  manner  of  extravagancies, 
and  among  other  things  drew  lots  for  five  of 
their  number  to  go  and  explore  the  desert  parts 
of  Libya,  and  try  if  they  could  not  penetrate 
further  than  any  had  done  previously.  The 
coast  of  Libya  along  the  sea  which  washes  it  to 
the  north,  throughout  its  entire  length  from 
Egypt  to  Cape  Solocis,1  which  is  its  furthest 
point,  is  inhabited  by  Libyans  of  many  distinct 
tribes  who  possess  the  whole  tract  except  cer- 
tain portions  which  belong  to  the  Phoenicians 
and  the  Greeks.  Above  the  coast-line  and  the 
country  inhabited  by  the  maritime  tribes,  Libya 
is  full  of  wild  beasts;  while  beyond  the  wild 
beast  region  there  is  a  tract  which  is  wholly 
sand,  very  scant  of  water,  and  utterly  and  en- 
tirely a  desert.  The  young  men  therefore,  des- 
patched on  this  errand  by  their  comrades  with 
a  plentiful  supply  of  water  and  provisions, 
travelled  at  first  through  the  inhabited  region, 
passing  which  they  came  to  the  wild  beast  tract, 
whence  they  finally  entered  upon  the  desert, 
which  they  proceeded  to  cross  in  a  direction 
from  east  to  west.  After  journeying  for  many 
days  over  a  wide  extent  of  sand,  they  came  at 
last  to  a  plain  where  they  observed  trees  grow- 
ing; approaching  them,  and  seeing  fruit  on 

1  Cape  Spartcl,  near  Tangier. 


56 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK  ii 


them,  they  proceeded  to  gather  it.  While  they 
were  thus  engaged,  there  came  upon  them 
some  dwarfish  men,  under  the  middle  height, 
who  seized  them  and  carried  them  ofl.  The 
Nasamomans  could  not  understand  a  word  of 
their  language,  nor  had  they  any  acquaintance 
with  the  language  of  the  Nasamomans.  They 
were  led  across  extensive  marshes,  and  finally 
came  to  a  town,  where  all  the  men  were  of  the 
height  of  their  conductors,  and  black-complex- 
ioned.  A  great  river  flowed  by  the  town,  running 
from  west  to  east,  and  containing  crocodiles. 

33.  Here  let  me  dismiss  Etearchus  the  Am- 
monian,  and  his  story,  only  adding  that  (ac- 
cording to  the  Cyrenacans)  he  declared  that  the 
Nasamomans  got  safe  back  to  their  country, 
and  that  the  men  whose  city  they  had  reached 
were  a  nation  of  sorcerers.  With  respect  to  the 
river  which  ran  by  their  town,  Etearchus  con- 
jectured it  to  be  the  Nile;  and  reason  favours 
that  view.  For  the  Nile  certainly  flows  out  of 
Libya,  dividing  it  down  the  middle,  and  as  I 
conceive,    judging   the    unknown    from    the 
known,  rises  at  the  same  distance  from  its 
mouth  as  the  Ister.  This  latter  river  has  its 
source  in  the  country  of  the  Celts  near  the  city 
Pyrene,  and  runs  through  the  middle  of  Eu- 
rope, dividing  it  into  two  portions.  The  Celts 
live  beyond  the  pillars  of  Hercules,  and  border 
on  the  Cynesians,  who  dwell  at  the  extreme 
west  of  Europe.  Thus  the  Ister  flows  through 
the  whole  of  Europe  before  it  finally  empties 
itself  into  the  Euxine  at  Istria,  one  of  the  col- 
onies of  the  Milesians. 

34.  Now  as  this  river  flows  through  regions 
that  are  inhabited,  its  course  is  perfectly  well 
known;  but  of  the  sources  of  the  Nile  no  one 
can  give  any  account,  since  Libya,  the  country 
through  which  it  passes,  is  desert  and  without 
inhabitants.  As  far  as  it  was  possible  to  get  in- 
formation by  inquiry,  I  have  given  a  descrip- 
tion of  the  stream.  It  enters  Egypt  from  the 
parts  beyond.  Egypt  lies  almost  exactly  oppo- 
site the  mountainous  portion  of  Cihcia,  whence 
a  lightly-equipped  traveller  may  reach  Sinop£ 
on  the  Euxine  in  five  days  by  the  direct  route. 
Sinope  lies  opposite  the  place  where  the  Ister 
falls  into  the  sea.1  My  opinion  therefore  is  that 
the  Nile,  as  it  traverses  the  whole  of  Libya,  is 
of  equal  length  with  the  Ister.  And  here  I  take 
my  leave  of  this  subject. 

'This  of  course  is  neither  true,  nor  near  the 
truth;  and  it  is  difficult  to  make  out  in  what  sense 
Herodotus  meant  to  assert  it.  Perhaps  he  attached 
no  very  distinct  geographical  meaning  to  the  word 
"opposite." 


35.  Concerning  Egypt  itself  I  shall  extend 
my  remarks  to  a  great  length,  because  there  is 
no  country  that  possesses  so  many  wonders,  nor 
any  that  has  such  a  number  of  works  which 
defy  description.  Not  only  is  the  climate  differ- 
ent from  that  of  the  rest  of  the  world,  and  the 
rivers  unlike  any  other  rivers,  but  the  people 
also,  in  most  of  their  manners  and  customs, 
exactly  reverse  the  common  practice  of  man- 
kind. The  women  attend  the  markets  and 
trade,  while  the  men  sit  at  home  at  the  loom; 
and  here,  while  the  rest  of  the  world  works  the 
woof  up  the  warp,   the  Egyptians  work  it 
down;  the  women  likewise   carry  burthens 
upon  their  shoulders,  while  the  men  carry  them 
upon  their  heads.  They  eat  their  food  out  of 
doors  in  the  streets,  but  retire  for  private  pur- 
poses to  their  houses,  giving  as  a  reason  that 
what  is  unseemly,  but  necessary,  ought  to  be 
done  in  secret,  but  what  has  nothing  unseemly 
about  it,  should  be  done  openly.  A  woman 
cannot  serve  the  priestly  office,  either  for  god  or 
goddess,  but  men  are  priests  to  both;  sons  need 
not  support  their  parents  unless  they  choose, 
but  daughters  must,  whether  they  choose  or  no. 

36.  In  other  countries  the  priests  have  long 
hair,  in  Egypt  their  heads  are  shaven;  else- 
where it  is  customary,  in  mourning,  for  near 
relations  to  cut  their  hair  close:  the  Egyptians, 
who  wear  no  hair  at  any  other  time,  when  they 
lose  a  relative,  let  their  beards  and  the  hair  of 
their  heads  grow  long.  All  other  men  pass  their 
lives  separate  from  animals,  the  Egyptians  have 
animals  always  living  with  them;  others  make 
barley  and  wheat  their  food;  it  is  a  disgrace  to 
do  so  in  Egypt,2  where  the  grain  they  live  on  is 
spelt,  which  some  call  zea.  Dough  they  knead 
with  their  feet;  but  they  mix  mud,  and  even 
take  up  dirt,  with  their  hands.  They  are  the 
only  people  in  the  world — they  at  least,  and 
such  as  have  learnt  the  practice  from  them — 
who  use  circumcision.  Their  men  wear  two 
garments  apiece,  their  women  but  one.  They 
put  on  the  rings  and  fasten  the  ropes  to  sails 
inside;  others  put  them  outside.  When  they 
write  or  calculate,  instead  of  going,  like  the 
Greeks,  from  left  to  right,  they  move  their 
hand  from  right  to  left;  and  they  insist,  not- 
withstanding, that  it  is  they  who  go  to  the 
right,  and  the  Greeks  who  go  to  the  left.  They 
have  two  quite  different  kinds  of  writing,  one 
of  which  is  called  sacred,  the  other  common. 

37.  They  are  religious  to  excess,  far  beyond 
any  other  race  of  men,  and  use  the  following 
ceremonies: — They  drink  out  of  brazen  cups, 

2  This  statement  is  contrary  to  fact 


33-40 


THE  HISTORY 


57 


which  they  scour  every  day:  there  is  no  excep- 
tion to  this  practice.  They  wear  linen  garments, 
which  they  are  specially  careful  to  have  always 
fresh  washed.  They  practise  circumcision  for 
the  sake  of  cleanliness,  considering  it  better  to 
be  cleanly  than  comely.  The  priests  shave  their 
whole  body  every  other  day,  that  no  lice  or 
other  impure  thing  may  adhere  to  them  when 
they  are  engaged  in  the  service  of  the  gods. 
Their  dress  is  entirely  of  linen,  and  their  shoes 
of  the  papyrus  plant:  it  is  not  lawful  for  them 
to  wear  either  dress  or  shoes  of  any  other  ma- 
terial. They  bathe  twice  every  day  in  cold  wa- 
ter, and  twice  each  night;  besides  which  they 
observe,  so  to  speak,  thousands  of  ceremonies. 
They  enjoy,  however,  not  a  few  advantages. 
They  consume  none  of  their  own  property,  and 
are  at  no  expense  for  anything;  but  every  day 
bread  is  baked  for  them  of  the  sacred  corn,  and 
a  plentiful  supply  of  beef  and  of  goose's  flesh 
is  assigned  to  each,  and  also  a  portion  of  wine 
made  from  the  grape.  Fish  they  are  not  allowed 
to  eat;  and  beans — which  none  of  the  Egyp- 
tians ever  sow,  or  eat,  if  they  come  up  of  their 
own  accord,  cither  raw  or  boiled — the  priests 
will  not  even  endure  to  look  on,  since  they  con- 
sider it  an  unclean  kind  of  pulse.  Instead  of  a 
single  priest,  each  god  has  the  attendance  of  a 
college,  at  the  head  of  which  is  a  chief  priest; 
when  one  of  these  dies,  his  son  is  appointed  in 
his  room. 

38.  Male  kine  are  reckoned  to  belong  to  Ep- 
aphus,  and  are  therefore  tested  in  the  following 
manner: — One  of  the  priests  appointed  for  the 
purpose  searches  to  see  if  there  is  a  single  black 
hair  on  the  whole  body,  since  in  that  case  the 
beast  is  unclean.  He  examines  him  all  over, 
standing  on  his  legs,  and  again  laid  upon  his 
back;  after  which  he  takes  the  tongue  out  of 
his  mouth,  to  see  if  it  be  clean  in  respect  of  the 
prescribed  marks  (what  they  are  I  will  men- 
tion elsewhere);  he  also  inspects  the  hairs  of 
the  tail,  to  observe  if  they  grow  naturally.  If 
the  animal  is  pronounced  clean  in  all  these  var- 
ious points,  the  priest  marks  him  by  twisting  a 
piece  of  papyrus  round  his  horns,  and  attach- 
ing thereto  some  sealing-clay,  which  he  then 
stamps  with  his  own  signet-ring.  After  this  the 
beast  is  led  away;  and  it  is  forbidden,  under  the 
penalty  of  death,  to  sacrifice  an  animal  which 
has  not  been  marked  in  this  way. 

39.  The  following  is  their  manner  of  sacri- 
fice:— They  lead  the  victim,  marked  with  their 
signet,  to  the  altar  where  they  are  about  to 
offer  it,  and  setting  the  wood  alight,  pour  a 
libation  of  wine  upon  the  altar  in  front  of  the 


victim,  and  at  the  same  time  invoke  the  god. 
Then  they  slay  the  animal,  and  cutting  off  his 
head,  proceed  to  flay  the  body.  Next  they  take 
the  head,  and  heaping  imprecations  on  it,  if 
there  is  a  market-place  and  a  body  of  Greek 
traders  in  the  city,  they  carry  it  there  and  sell  it 
instantly;  if,  however,  there  are  no  Greeks 
among  them,  they  throw  the  head  into  the  riv- 
er. The  imprecation  is  to  this  effect: — They 
pray  that  if  any  evil  is  impending  either  over 
those  who  sacrifice,  or  over  universal  Egypt,  it 
may  be  made  to  fall  upon  that  head.  These 
practices,  the  imprecations  upon  the  heads,  and 
the  libations  of  wine,  prevail  all  over  Egypt, 
and  extend  to  victims  of  all  sorts;  and  hence 
the  Egyptians  will  never  eat  the  head  of  any  an- 
imal. 

40.  The  disembowelling  and  burning  are, 
however,  different  in  different  sacrifices.  I  will 
mention  the  mode  in  use  with  respect  to  the 
goddess  whom  they  regard  as  the  greatest,  and 
honour  with  the  chiefest  festival.  When  they 
have  flayed  their  steer  they  pray,  and  when 
their  prayer  is  ended  they  take  the  paunch  of 
the  animal  out  entire,  leaving  the  intestines 
and  the  fat  inside  the  body;  they  then  cut  off 
the  legs,  the  ends  of  the  loins,  the  shoulders, 
and  the  neck;  and  having  so  done,  they  fill  the 
body  of  the  steer  with  clean  bread,  honey,  rai- 
sins, figs,  frankincense,  myrrh,  and  other  aro- 
matics.  Thus  filled,  they  burn  the  body,  pour- 
ing over  it  great  quantities  of  oil.  Before  offer- 
ing the  sacrifice  they  fast,  and  while  the  bodies 
of  the  victims  are  being  consumed  they  beat 
themselves.  Afterwards,  when  they  have  con- 
cluded this  part  of  the  ceremony,  they  have  the 
other  parts  of  the  victim  served  up  to  them  for 
a  repast. 

41.  The  male  kine,  therefore,  if  clean,  and 
the  male  calves,  are  used  for  sacrifice  by  the 
Egyptians  universally;  but  the  females  they  are 
not  allowed  to  sacrifice,  since  they  are  sacred  to 
Isis.  The  statue  of  this  goddess  has  the  form  of 
a  woman  but  with  horns  like  a  cow,  resembling 
thus  the  Greek  representations  of  lo;  and  the 
Egyptians,  one  and  all,  venerate  cows  much 
more  highly  than  any  other  animal.  This  is  the 
reason  why  no  native  of  Egypt,  whether  man 
or  woman,  will  give  a  Greek  a  kiss,  or  use  the 
knife  of  a  Greek,  or  his  spit,  or  his  cauldron,  or 
taste  the  flesh  of  an  ox,  known  to  be  pure,  if  it 
has  been  cut  with  a  Greek  knife.  When  kine 
die,  the  following  is  the  manner  of  their  sepul- 
ture:— The  females  are  thrown  into  the  river; 
the  males  are  buried  in  the  suburbs  of  the 
towns,  with  one  or  both  of  their  horns  appear- 


58 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK  ii 


ing  above  the  surface  of  the  ground  to  mark  the 
place.  When  the  bodies  are  decayed,  a  boat 
comes,  at  an  appointed  time,  from  the  island 
called  Prosopitis, — which  is  a  portion  of  the 
Delta,  nine  schcenes  in  circumference, — and 
calls  at  the  several  cities  in  turn  to  collect  the 
bones  of  the  oxen.  Prosopitis  is  a  district  con- 
taining several  cities;  the  name  of  that  from 
which  the  boats  come  is  Atarbechis.  Venus  has 
a  temple  there  of  much  sanctity.  Great  num- 
bers of  men  go  forth  from  this  city  and  proceed 
to  the  other  towns,  where  they  dig  up  the 
bones,  which  they  take  away  with  them  and 
bury  together  in  one  place.  The  same  practice 
prevails  with  respect  to  the  interment  of  all 
other  cattle — the  law  so  determining;  they  do 
not  slaughter  any  of  them. 

42.  Such  Egyptians  as  possess  a  temple  of 
the  Theban  Jove,  or  live  in  the  Thebaic  canton, 
offer  no  sheep  in  sacrifice,  but  only  goats;  for 
the  Egyptians  do  not  all  worship  the  same 
gods,  excepting  Isis  and  Osiris,  the  latter  of 
whom  they  say  is  the  Grecian  Bacchus.  Those, 
on  the  contrary,  who  possess  a  temple  dedicat- 
ed to  Mendes,  or  belong  to  the  Mendesian  can- 
ton, abstain  from  offering  goats,  and  sacrifice 
sheep  instead.  The  Thebans,  and  such  as  imi- 
tate them  in  their  practice,  give  the  following 
account  of  the  origin  of  the  custom: — "Her- 
cules," they  say,  "wished  of  all  things  to  see 
Jove,  but  Jove  did  not  choose  to  be  seen  of  him. 
At  length,  when  Hercules  persisted,  Jove  hit  on 
a  device — to  flay  a  ram,  and,  cutting  off  his 
head,  hold  the  head  before  him,  and  cover  him- 
self with  the  fleece.  In  this  guise  he  showed 
himself  to  Hercules."  Therefore  the  Egyptians 
give  their  statues  of  Jupiter  the  face  of  a  ram: 
and  from  them  the  practice  has  passed  to  the 
Ammonians,  who  are  a  joint  colony  of  Egyp- 
tians and  Ethiopians,  speaking  a  language  be- 
tween the  two;  hence  also,  in  my  opinion,  the 
latter  people  took  their  name  of  Ammonians, 
since  the  Egyptian  name  for  Jupiter  is  Amun. 
Such,  then,  is  the  reason  why  the  Thebans  do 
not  sacrifice  rams,  but  consider  them  sacred  an- 
imals. Upon  one  day  in  the  year,  however,  at 
the  festival  of  Jupiter,  they  slay  a  single  ram, 
and  stripping  off  the  fleece,  cover  with  it  the 
statue  of  that  god,  as  he  once  covered  himself, 
and  then  bring  up  to  the  statue  of  Jove  an  im- 
age of  Hercules.  When  this  has  been  done,  the 
whole  assembly  beat  their  breasts  in  mourning 
for  the  ram,  and  afterwards  bury  him  in  a  holy 
sepulchre. 

43.  The  account  which  I  received  of  this 
Hercules  makes  him  one  of  the  twelve  gods.  Of 


the  other  Hercules,  with  whom  the  Greeks  are 
familiar,  I  could  hear  nothing  in  any  part  of 
Egypt.  That  the  Greeks,  however  (those  I 
mean  who  gave  the  son  of  Amphitryon  that 
name),  took  the  name1  from  the  Egyptians, 
and  not  the  Egyptians  from  the  Greeks,  is  I 
think  clearly  proved,  among  other  arguments, 
by  the  fact  that  both  the  parents  of  Hercules, 
Amphitryon  as  well  as  Alcmena,  were  of  Egyp- 
tian origin.  Again,  the  Egyptians  disclaim  all 
knowledge  of  the  names  of  Neptune  and  the 
Dioscuri,  and  do  not  include  them  in  the  num- 
ber of  their  gods;  but  had  they  adopted  the 
name  of  any  god  from  the  Greeks,  these  would 
have  been  the  likeliest  to  obtain  notice,  since 
the  Egyptians,  as  I  am  well  convinced,  prac- 
tised navigation  at  that  time,  and  the  Greeks 
also  were  some  of  them  mariners,  so  that  they 
would  have  been  more  likely  to  know  the 
names  of  these  gods  than  that  of  Hercules.  But 
the  Egyptian  Hercules  is  one  of  their  ancient 
gods.  Seventeen  thousand  years  before  the 
reign  of  Amasis,  the  twelve  gods  were,  they 
affirm,  produced  from  the  eight:  and  of  these 
twelve,  Hercules  is  one. 

44.  In  the  wish  to  get  the  best  information 
that  I  could  on  these  matters,  I  made  a  voyage 
to  Tyre  in  Phoenicia,  hearing  there  was  a  tem- 
ple of  Hercules  at  that  place,  very  highly  ven- 
erated. I  visited  the  temple,  and  found  it  richly 
adorned  with  a  number  of  offerings,  among 
which  were  two  pillars,  one  of  pure  gold,  the 
other  of  emerald,  shining  with  great  brilliancy 
at  night.  In  a  conversation  which  1  held  with 
the  priests,  I  inquired  how  long  their  temple 
had  been  built,  and  found  by  their  answer  that 
they,  too,  differed  from  the  Greeks.  They  said 
that  the  temple  was  built  at  the  same  time  that 
the  city  was  founded,  and  that  the  foundation 
of  the  city  took  place  two  thousand  three  hun- 
dred years  ago.  In  Tyre  I  remarked  another 
temple  where  the  same  god  was  worshipped  as 
the  Thasian  Hercules.  So  I  went  on  to  Thasos, 
where  I  found  a  temple  of  Hercules  which  had 
been  built  by  the  Phoenicians  who  colonised 
that  island  when  they  sailed  in  search  of  Eu- 
ropa.  Even  this  was  five  generations  earlier 
than  the  time  when  Hercules,  son  of  Amphi- 
tryon, was  born  in  Greece.  These  researches 
show  plainly  that  there  is  an  ancient  god  Her- 
cules; and  my  own  opinion  is  that  those 
Greeks  act  most  wisely  who  build  and  main- 
tain two  temples  of  Hercules,  in  the  one  of 

1  It  is  scarcely  necessary  to  say  that  no  Egyptian 
god  has  a  name  from  which  that  of  Hercules  can 
by  any  possibility  have  been  formed. 


42-49] 


THE  HISTORY 


59 


which  the  Hercules  worshipped  is  known  by 
the  name  of  Olympian,  and  has  sacrifice  of- 
fered to  him  as  an  immortal,  while  in  the  other 
the  honours  paid  are  such  as  are  due  to  a  hero. 

45.  The  Greeks  tell  many  tales  without  due 
investigation,  and  among  them  the  following 
silly  fable  respecting  Hercules: — "Hercules," 
they  say,  "went  once  to  Egypt,  and  there  the 
inhabitants  took  him,  and  putting  a  chaplet  on 
his  head,  led  him  out  in  solemn  procession,  in- 
tending to  offer  him  a  sacrifice  to  Jupiter.  For 
a  while  he  submitted  quietly;  but  when  they 
led  him  up  to  the  altar  and  began  the  ceremon- 
ies, he  put  forth  his  strength  and  slew  them 
all.'*  Now  to  me  it  seems  that  such  a  story 
proves  the  Greeks  to  be  utterly  ignorant  of  the 
character  and  customs  of   the    people.  The 
Egyptians  do  not  think  it  allowable  even  to  sac- 
rifice cattle,  excepting  sheep,  and  the  male  kine 
and  calves,  provided  they  be  pure,  and  also 
geese.  How,  then,  can  it  be  believed  that  they 
would  sacrifice  men?  And  again,  how  would 
it  have  been  possible  for  Hercules  alone,  and, 
as  they  confess,  a  mere  mortal,  to  destroy  so 
many  thousands?  In  saying  thus  much  con- 
cerning these  matters,  may  I  incur  no  displeas- 
ure either  of  god  or  hero! 

46.  I  mentioned   above  that  some  of  the 
Egyptians  abstain  from  sacrificing  goats,  either 
male  or  female.  The  reason  is  the  following: — 
These  Egyptians,  who  are  the  Mendesians,  con- 
sider Pan  to  be  one  of  the  eight  gods  who  ex- 
isted before  the  twelve,  and  Pan  is  represented 
in  Egypt  by  the  painters  and  the  sculptors,  just 
as  he  is  in  Greece,  with  the  face  and  legs  of  a 
goat.  They  do  not,  however,  believe  this  to  be 
his  shape,  or  consider  him  in  any  respect  unlike 
the  other  gods;  but  they  represent  him  thus  for 
a  reason  which  I  prefer  not  to  relate.  The  Men- 
desians hold  all  goats  in  veneration,  but  the 
male  more  than  the  female,  giving  the  goat- 
herds of  the  males  especial  honour.  One  is  ven- 
erated more  highly  than  all  the  rest,  and  when 
he  dies  there  is  a  great  mourning  throughout 
all  the  Mendesian  canton.  In  Egyptian,  the  goat 
and  Pan  are  both  called  Mendes. 

47.  The  pig  is  regarded  among  them  as  an  un- 
clean animal,  so  much  so  that  if  a  man  in  passing 
accidentally  touch  a  pig,  he  instantly  hurries  to 
the  river,and  plunges  in  with  all  his  clothes  on. 
Hence,  too,  the  swineherds,  notwithstanding 
that  they  are  of  pure  Egyptian  blood,  are  for- 
bidden to  enter  into  any  of  the  temples,  which 
are  open  to  all  other  Egyptians;  and  further,  no 
one  will  give  his  daughter  in  marriage  to  a 
swineherd,  or  take  a  wife  from  among  them, 


so  that  the  swineherds  are  forced  to  intermarry 
among  themselves.  They  do  not  offer  swine  in 
sacrifice  to  any  of  their  gods,  excepting  Bacchus 
and  the  Moon,  whom  they  honour  in  this  way 
at  the  same  time,  sacrificing  pigs  to  both  of 
them  at  the  same  full  moon,  and  afterwards 
eating  of  the  flesh.  There  is  a  reason  alleged  by 
them  for  their  detestation  of  swine  at  all  other 
seasons,  and  their  use  of  them  at  this  festival, 
with  which  I  am  well  acquainted,  but  which  I 
do  not  think  it  proper  to  mention.  The  follow- 
ing is  the  mode  in  which  they  sacrifice  the 
swine  to  the  Moon: — As  soon  as  the  victim  is 
slain,  the  tip  of  the  tail,  the  spleen,  and  the  caul 
are  put  together,  and  having  been  covered  with 
all  the  fat  that  has  been  tound  in  the  animal's 
belly,  are  straightway  burnt.  The  remainder  of 
the  flesh  is  eaten  on  the  same  day  that  the  sacri- 
fice is  offered,  which  is  the  day  of  the  full 
moon:  at  any  other  time  they  would  not  so 
much  as  taste  it.  The  poorer  sort,  who  cannot 
afford  live  pigs,  form  pigs  of  dough,  which 
they  bake  and  offer  in  sacrifice. 

48.  To  Bacchus,  on  the  eve  of  his  feast,  every 
Egyptian  sacrifices  a  hog  before  the  door  of  his 
house,  which  is  then  given  back  to  the  swine- 
herd by  whom  it  was  furnished,  and  by  him 
carried  away.  In  other  respects  the  festival  is 
celebrated  almost  exactly  as  Bacchic  festivals 
are  in  Greece,  excepting  that  the  Egyptians 
have  no  choral  dances.  They  also  use  instead  of 
phalli  another  invention,  consisting  of  images 
a  cubit  high,  pulled  by  strings,  which  the  wo- 
men carry  round  to  the  villages.  A  piper  goes 
in  front,  and  the  women  follow,  singing  hymns 
in  honour  of  Bacchus.  They  give  a  religious 
reason  for  the  peculiarities  of  the  image. 

49.  Melampus,  the  son  of  Amytheon,  cannot 
(I  think)  have  been  ignorant  of  this  ceremony 
— nay,  he  must,  I  should  conceive,  have  been 
well  acquainted  with  it.  He  it  was  who  intro- 
duced into  Greece  the  name  of  Bacchus,  the 
ceremonial  of  his  worship,  and  the  procession 
of  the  phallus.  He  did  not,  however,  so  com- 
pletely apprehend  the  whole  doctrine  as  to  be 
able  to  communicate  it  entirely,  but  various 
sages  since  his  time  have  carried  out  his  teach- 
ing to  greater  perfection.  Still  it  is  certain  that 
Melampus  introduced  the  phallus,  and  that  the 
Greeks  learnt  from  him  the  ceremonies  which 
they  now  practise.  I  therefore  maintain  that 
Melampus,  who  was  a  wise  man,  and  had  ac- 
quired the  art  of  divination,  having  become 
acquainted    with    the    worship   of    Bacchus 
through  knowledge  derived  from  Egypt,  intro- 
duced it  into  Greece,  with  a  few  slight  changes, 


60 


HERODOTUS 


[  BOOK  ii 


at  the  same  time  that  he  brought  in  various 
other  practices.  For  I  can  by  no  means  allow 
that  it  is  by  mere  coincidence  that  the  Bacchic 
ceremonies  in  Greece  are  so  nearly  the  same  as 
the  Egyptian — they  would  then  have  been 
more  Greek  in  their  character,  and  less  recent 
in  their  origin.  Much  less  can  I  admit  that  the 
Egyptians  borrowed  these  customs,  or  any  oth- 
er, from  the  Greeks.  My  belief  is  that  Melam- 
pus  got  his  knowledge  of  them  from  Cadmus 
the  Tyrian,  and  the  followers  whom  he 
brought  from  Phoenicia  into  the  country  which 
is  now  called  Bccotia. 

50.  Almost  all  the  names  of  the  gods  came 
into  Greece  from  Egypt.  My  inquiries  prove 
that  they  were  all   derived  from  a   foreign 
source,  and  rny  opinion  is  that  Egypt  furnished 
the  greater  number.  For  with  the  exception  of 
Neptune  and  the  Dioscuri,  whom  I  mentioned 
above,  and  Juno,  Vesta,  Themis,  the  Graces, 
and  the  Nereids,  the  other  gods  have  been 
known  from  lime  immemorial  in  Egypt.  This 
I  assert  on  the  authority  of  the  Egyptians  them- 
selves. The  gods,  with  whose  names  they  pro- 
fess themselves  unacquainted,  the  Greeks  re- 
ceived, I  believe,  irom  the  Pclasgi,  except  Nep- 
tune. Of  him  they  got  their  knowledge  from 
the  Libyans,  by  whom  he  has  been  always  hon- 
oured, and  who  were  anciently  the  only  people 
that  had  a  god  of  the  name.  The  Egyptians 
differ  from  the  Greeks  also  in  paying  no  divine 
honours  to  heroes. 

5 1 .  Besides  these  which  have  been  here  men- 
tioned, there  are  many  other  practices  whereof 
I  shall  speak  hereafter,  which  the  Greeks  have 
borrowed  from  Egypt.  The  peculiarity,  how- 
ever, which  they  observe  in  their  statues  of 
Mercury  they  did  not  derive  from  the  Egyp- 
tians, but  from  the  Pelasgi;  from  them  the 
Athenians  first  adopted  it,  and  afterwards  it 
passed  from  the  Athenians  to  the  other  Greeks. 
For  just  at  the  time  when  the  Athenians  were 
entering  into  the  Hellenic  body,  the  Pclasgi 
came   to  live    with   them   in   their   country, 
whence  it  was  that  the  latter  came  first  to  be 
regarded  as  Greeks.  Whoever  has  been  init- 
iated into  the  mysteries  of  the  Cabiri  will  un- 
derstand what  I  mean.  The  Samothracians  re- 
ceived these  mysteries  from  the  Pelasgi,  who, 
before  they  went  to  live  in  Attica,  were  dwell- 
ers in  Samothrace,  and  imparted  their  religious 
ceremonies  to  the  inhabitants.  The  Athenians, 
then,  who  were  the  first  of  all  the  Greeks  to 
make  their  statues  of  Mercury  in  this  way, 
learnt  the  practice  from  the  Pelasgians;  and  by 
this  people  a  religious  account  of  the  matter  is 


given,  which  is  explained  in  the  Samothracian 
mysteries. 

52.  In  early  times  the  Pelasgi,  as  I  know  by 
information  which  I  got  at  Dodona,  offered 
sacrifices  of  all  kinds,  and  prayed  to  the  gods, 
but  had  no  distinct  names  or  appellations  for 
them,  since  they  had  never  heard  of  any.  They 
called  them  gods  (  Oeoiy  disposers),  because 
they  had  disposed  and  arranged  all  things  in  such 
a  beautiful  order.  After  a  long  lapse  of  time  the 
names  of  the  gods  came  to  Greece  from  Egypt, 
and  the  Pelasgi  learnt  them,  only  as  yet  they 
knew  nothing  of  Bacchus,  of  whom  they  first 
heard  at  a  much  later  date.  Not  long  after  the 
arrival  of  the  names  they  sent  to  consult  the 
oracle  at  Dodona  about  them.  This  is  the  most 
ancient  oracle  in  Greece,  and  at  that  time  there 
was  no  other.  To  their  question,  "Whether 
they  should  adopt  the  names  that  had  been  im- 
ported from  the  foreigners?"  the  oracle  replied 
by  recommending  their  use.  Thenceforth  m 
their  sacrifices  the  Pelasgi  made  use  of  the 
names  of  the  gods,  and  from  them  the  names 
passed  afterwards  to  the  Greeks. 

53.  Whence    the    gods    severally    sprang, 
whether  or  no  they  had  all  existed  from  eterni- 
ty, what  forms  they  bore — these  are  questions 
of  which  the  Greeks  knew  nothing  until  the 
other  day,  so  to  speak.  For  Homer  and  Hesiod 
were  the  first  to  compose  Thcogonies,  and  give 
the  gods  their  epithets,  to  allot  them  their  sever- 
al offices  and  occupations,  and  describe  their 
forms;  and  they  lived  but  four  hundred  years 
before  my  time,  as  I  believe.  As  for  the  poets 
who  arc  thought  by  some  to  be  earlier  than 
these,  they  are,  in  my  judgment,  decidedly  later 
writers.  In  these  matters  I  have  the  authority  of 
the  priestesses  of  Dodona  for  the  former  por- 
tion of  my  statements;  what  I  have  said  of  Ho- 
mer and  Hesiod  is  my  own  opinion. 

54.  The  following  tale  is  commonly  told  in 
Egypt  concerning  the  oracle  of  Dodona  in 
Greece,  and  that  of  Ammon  in  Libya.  My  in- 
formants on  the  point  were  the  priests  of  Ju- 
pitcr  at  Thebes.  They  said  "that  two  of  the 
sacred   women   were  once  carried  off  from 
Thebes  by  the  Phoenicians,  and  that  the  story 
went  that  one  of  them  was  sold  into  Libya, 
and  the  other  into  Greece,  and  these  women 
were  the  first  founders  of  the  oracles  in  the 
two  countries."  On  my  inquiring  how  they 
came  to  know  so  exactly  what  became  of  the 
women,  they  answered,  "that  diligent  search 
had  been  made  after  them  at  the  time,  but  that 
it  had  not  been  found  possible  to  discover 
where  they  were;  afterwards,  however,  they 


50-62] 


THE  HISTORY 


61 


received    the    information   which   they   had 
given  me." 

55.  This  was  what  I  heard  from  the  priests 
at  Thebes;  at  Dodona,  however,  the  women 
who  deliver  the  oracles  relate  the  matter  as  fol- 
lows:— "Two  black  doves  flew  away   from 
Egyptian  Thebes,  and  while  one  directed  its 
flight  to  Libya,  the  other  came  to  them.  She 
alighted  on  an  oak,  and  silting  there  began  to 
speak  with  a  human  voice,  and  told  them  that 
on  the  spot  where  she  was,  there  should  hence- 
forth be  an  oracle  of  Jove.  They  understood  the 
announcement  to  be  from  heaven,  so  they  set 
to  work  at  once  and  erected  the  shrine.  The 
dove  which  flew  to  Libya  bade  the  Libyans  to 
establish  there  the  oracle  of  Ammon."  This 
likewise  is  an  oracle  of  Jupiter.  The  persons 
from  whom  I  received  these  particulars  were 
three  priestesses  of  the  Dodonaeans,  the  eldest 
Promeneia,  the  next  Timarete,  and  the  young- 
est Nicandra — what  they  said  was  confirmed 
by  the  other  Dodonieans  who  dwell  around  the 
temple. 

56.  My  own  opinion  of  these  matters  is  as 
follows: — I  think  that,  if  it  be  true  that  the 
Phoenicians  carried  off  the  holy  women,  and 
sold  them  for  slaves,  the  one  into  Libya  and  the 
other  into  Greece,  or  Pelasgia  (as  it  was  then 
called),  this  last  must  have  been  sold  to  the 
Thesprotians.  Afterwards,  while  undergoing 
servitude  in  those  parts,  she  built  under  a  teal 
oak  a  temple  to  Jupiter,  her  thoughts  in  her 
new  abode  reverting — as  it  was  likely  they 
would  do,  if  she  had  been  an  attendant  in  a 
temple  of  Jupiter  at  Thebes — to  that  particular 
god.  Then,  having  acquired  a  knowledge  of 
the  Greek  tongue,  she  set  up  an  oracle.  She  also 
mentioned  that  her  sister  had  been  sold  for  a 
slave  into  Libya  by  the  same  persons  as  herself. 

57.  The  Dodon.rans  called  the  women  doves 
because  they  were  foreigners,  and  seemed  to 
them  to  make  a  noise  like  birds.  After  a  while 
the  dove  spoke  with  a  human  voice,  because 
the  woman,  whose  foreign  talk  had  previously 
sounded  to  them  like  the  chattering  of  a  bird, 
acquired  the  power  of  speaking  what  they 
could  understand.  For  how  can  it  be  conceived 
possible  that  a  dove  should  really  speak  with 
the  voice  of  a  man?  Lastly,  by  calling  the  dove 
black  the  Dodonaeans  indicated  that  the  wo- 
man was  an  Egyptian.  And  certainly  the  char- 
acter of  the  oracles  at  Thebes  and  Dodona  is 
very  similar.  Besides  this  form  of  divination, 
the  Greeks  learnt  also  divination  by  means  of 
victims  from  the  Egyptians. 

58.  The  Egyptians  were  also  the  first  to  in- 


troduce solemn  assemblies,  processions,  and 
litanies  to  the  gods;  of  all  which  the  Greeks 
were  taught  the  use  by  them.  It  seems  to  me  a 
sufficient  proof  of  this  that  in  Egypt  these  prac- 
tices have  been  established  from  remote  antiq- 
uity, while  in  Greece  they  are  only  recently 
known. 

59.  The  Egyptians  do  not  hold  a  single  sol- 
emn assembly,  but  several  in  the  course  of  the 
year.  Of  these  the  chief,  which  is  better  at- 
tended than  any  other,  is  held  at  the  city  of 
Bubastis  in  honour  of  Diana.  The  next  in  im- 
portance is  that  which  takes  place  at  Busiris,  a 
city  situated  in  the  very  middle  of  the  Delta;  it 
is  in  honour  of  Isis,  who  is  called  in  the  Greek 
tongue  Demeter  (Ceres).  There  is  a  third  great 
festival  in  Sais  to  Minerva,  a  fourth  in  Helio- 
polis  to  the  Sun,  a  fifth  in  Buto  to  Latona,  and 
a  sixth  in  Paprernis  to  Mars. 

60.  The  following  are  the  proceedings  on 
occasion  of  the  assembly  at  Bubastis: — Men 
and  women  come  sailing  all  together,  vast 
numbers  in  each  boat,  many  of  the  women 
with  castanets,  which  they  strike,  while  some 
of  the  men  pipe  during  the  whole  time  of  the 
voyage;  the  remainder  of  the  voyagers,  male 
and  female,  sing  the  while,  and  make  a  clap- 
ping with  their  hands.  When  they  arrive  op- 
posite any  of:  the  towns  upon  the  banks  of  the 
stream,  they  approach  the  shore,  and,  while 
some  of  the  women  continue  to  play  and  sing, 
others  call  aloud  to  the  females  of  the  place  and 
load  them  with  abuse,  while  a  certain  number 
dance,  and  some  standing  up  uncover  them- 
selves. After  proceeding  in  this  way  all  along 
the  river-course,  they  reach  Bubastis,  where 
they  celebrate  the  feast  with  abundant  sacri- 
fices. More  grape-wine  is  consumed  at  this  fes- 
tival than  in  all  the  rest  of  the  year  besides.  The 
number  of  those  who  attend,  counting  only  the 
men  and  women  and  omitting  the  children, 
amounts,  according  to  the  native  reports,  to 
seven  hundred  thousand. 

61.  The  ceremonies  at  the  feast  of  Isis  in  the 
city  of  Busiris  have  been  already  spoken  of.  It 
is  there  that  the  whole  multitude,  both  of  men 
and  women,  many  thousands  in  number,  beat 
themselves  at  the  close  of  the  sacrifice,  in  hon- 
our of  a  god,  whose  name  a  religious  scruple 
forbids  me  to  mention.1  The  Carian  dwellers 
in    Egypt  proceed  on   this  occasion  to  still 
greater  lengths,  even  cutting  their  faces  with 
their  knives,  whereby  they  let  it  been  seen  that 
they  are  not  Egyptians  but  foreigners. 

62.  At  Sai's,  when  the  assembly  takes  place 
1  Osiris. 


62 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOR  H 


for  the  sacrifices,  there  is  one  night  on  which 
the  inhabitants  all  burn  a  multitude  of  lights 
in  the  open  air  round  their  houses.  They  use 
lamps  in  the  shape  of  flat  saucers  filled  with  a 
mixture  of  oil  and  salt,  on  the  top  of  which  the 
wick  floats.  These  burn  the  whole  night,  and 
give  to  the  festival  the  name  of  the  Feast  of 
Lamps.  The  Egyptians  who  are  absent  from 
the  festival  observe  the  night  of  the  sacrifice,  no 
less  than  the  rest,  by  a  general  lighting  of 
lamps;  so  that  the  illumination  is  not  confined 
to  the  city  of  Sai's,  but  extends  over  the  whole 
of  Egypt.  And  there  is  a  religious  reason  as- 
signed for  the  special  honour  paid  to  this  night, 
as  well  as  for  the  illumination  which  acccomp- 
anies  it. 

63.  At  Hcliopolis  and  Buto  the  assemblies 
arc  merely  for  the  purpose  of  sacrifice;  but  at 
Papremis,  besides  the  sacrifices  and  other  rites 
which  are  performed  there  as  elsewhere,  the 
following  custom  is  observed: — When  the  sun 
is  getting  low,  a  few  only  of  the  priests  con- 
tinue occupied  about  the  image  of  the  god, 
while  the  greater  number,  armed  with  wooden 
clubs,  take  their  station  at  the  portal  of  the 
temple.  Opposite  to  them  is  drawn  up  a  body 
of  men,  in  number  above  a  thousand,  armed, 
like  the  others,  with  clubs,  consisting  of  per- 
sons engaged  in  the  performance  of  their  vows. 
The  image  of  the  god,  which  is  kept  in  a  small 
wooden  shrine  covered  with  plates  of  gold,  is 
conveyed  from  the  temple  into  a  second  sacred 
building  the  day  before  the  festival  begins.  The 
few  priests  still  in  attendance  upon  the  image 
place  it,  together  with  the  shrine  containing  it, 
on  a  four-wheeled  car,  and  begin  to  drag  it 
along;  the  others  stationed  at  the  gateway  of 
the  temple,  oppose  its  admission.  Then  the 
votaries  come  forward  to  espouse  the  quarrel  of 
the  god,  and  set  upon  the  opponents,  who  are 
sure  to  offer  resistance.  A  sharp  fight  with  clubs 
ensues,  in  which  heads  are  commonly  broken 
on  both  sides.  Many,  I  am  convinced,  die  of  the 
wounds  that  they  receive,  though  the  Egyp- 
tians insist  that  no  one  is  ever  killed. 

64.  The  natives  give  the  subjoined  account 
of  this  festival.  They  say  that  the  mother  of  the 
god  Mars  once  dwelt  in  the  temple.  Brought  up 
at  a  distance  from  his  parent,  when  he  grew  to 
man's  estate  he  conceived  a  wish  to  visit  her. 
Accordingly  he  came,  but  the  attendants,  who 
had  never  seen  him  before,  refused  him  en- 
trance, and  succeeded  in  keeping  him  out.  So 
he  went  to  another  city  and  collected  a  body  of 
men,  with  whose  aid  he  handled  the  attendants 
very  roughly,  and  forced  his  way  in  to  his 


mother.  Hence  they  say  arose  the  custom  of  a 
fight  with  sticks  in  honour  of  Mars  at  this  fes- 
tival. 

The  Egyptians  first  made  it  a  point  of  re- 
ligion to  have  no  converse  with  women  in  the 
sacred  places,  and  not  to  enter  them  without 
washing,  after  such  converse.  Almost  all  other 
nations,  except  the  Greeks  and  the  Egyptians, 
act  differently,  regarding  man  as  in  this  matter 
under  no  other  law  than  the  brutes.  Many  an- 
imals, they  say,  and  various  kinds  of  birds,  may 
be  seen  to  couple  in  the  temples  and  the  sacred 
precincts,  which  would  certainly  not  happen 
if  the  gods  were  displeased  at  it.  Such  are  the 
arguments  by  which  they  defend  their  practice, 
but  I  nevertheless  can  by  no  means  approve  of 
it.  In  these  points  the  Egyptians  are  specially 
careful,  as  they  are  indeed  in  everything  which 
concerns  their  sacred  edifices. 

65.  Egypt,  though  it  borders  upon  Libya,  is 
not  a  region  abounding  in  wild  animals.  The 
animals  that  do  exist  in  the  country,  whether 
domesticated  or  otherwise,  are  all  regarded  as 
sacred.  If  I  were  to  explain  why  they  are  con- 
secrated to  the  several  gods,  I  should  be  led  to 
speak  of  religious  matters,  which  I  particularly 
shrink  from  mentioning;  the  points  whereon  I 
have  touched  slightly  hitherto  have  all  been  in- 
troduced from  sheer  necessity.  Their  custom 
with  respect  to  animals  is  as  follows: — For 
every  kind  there  are  appointed  certain  guard- 
ians, some  male,  some  female,  whose  business 
it  is  to  look  after  them;  and  this  honour  is 
made  to  descend  from  father  to  son.  The  in- 
habitants of  the  various  cities,  when  they  have 
made  a  vow  to  any  god,  pay  it  to  his  animals  in 
the  way  which  I  will  now  explain.  At  the  time 
of  making  the  vow  they  shave  the  head  of  the 
child,  cutting  off  all  the  hair,  or  else  half,  or 
sometimes  a  third  part,  which  they  then  weigh 
in  a  balance  against  a  sum  of  silver;  and  what- 
ever sum  the  hair  weighs  is  presented  to  the 
guardian  of  the  animals,  who  thereupon  cuts 
up  some  fish,  and  gives  it  to  them  for  food — 
such  being  the  stuff  whereon  they  are  fed. 
When  a  man  has  killed  one  of  the  sacred  ani- 
mals, if  he  did  it  with  malice  prepense,  he  is 
punished  with  death;  if  unwittingly,  he  has  to 
pay  such  a  fine  as  the  priests  choose  to  impose. 
When  an  ibis,  however,  or  a  hawk  is  killed, 
whether  it  was  done  by  accident  or  on  purpose, 
the  man  must  needs  die. 

66.  The  number  of  domestic  animals  in 
Egypt  is  very  great,  and  would  be  still  greater 
were  it  not  for  what  befalls  the  cats.  As  the  fe- 
males, when  they  have  kittened,  no  longer  seek 


63-71] 

the  company  of  the  males,  these  last,  to  obtain 
once  more  their  companionship,  practise  a 
curious  artifice.  They  seize  the  kittens,  carry 
them  off,  and  kill  them,  but  do  not  eat  them 
afterwards.  Upon  this  the  females,  being  de- 
prived of  their  young,  and  longing  to  supply 
their  place,  seek  the  males  once  more,  since 
they  are  particularly  fond  of  their  offspring. 
On  every  occasion  of  a  fire  in  Egypt  the  strang- 
est prodigy  occurs  with  the  cats.  The  inhabi- 
tants allow  the  fire  to  rage  as  it  pleases,  while 
they  stand  about  at  intervals  and  watch  these 
animals,  which,  slipping  by  the  men  or  else 
leaping  over  them,  rush  headlong  into  the 
flames.  When  this  happens,  the  Egyptians  are 
in  deep  affliction.  If  a  cat  dies  in  a  private  house 
by  a  natural  death,  all  the  inmates  of  the  house 
shave  their  eyebrows;  on  the  death  of  a  dog 
they  shave  the  head  and  the  whole  of  the  body. 

67.  The  cats  on  their  decease  are  taken  to  the 
city  of  Bubastis,  where  they  are  embalmed, 
after  which  they  are  buried  in  certain  sacred 
repositories.  The  dogs  are  interred  in  the  cities 
to  which  they  belong,  also  in  sacred  burial- 
places.  The  same  practice  obtains  with  respect 
to  the  ichneumons;  the  hawks  and  shrew-mice, 
on  the  contrary,  are  conveyed  to  the  city  of 
Buto  for  burial,  and  the  ibises  to  Hermopolis. 
The  bears,  which  are  scarce  in  Egypt,  and  the 
wolves,  which  are  not  much  bigger  than  foxes, 
they  bury  wherever  they  happen  to  find  them 
lying. 

68.  The  following  are  the  peculiarities  of  the 
crocodile: — During  the  four  winter  months 
they  eat  nothing;  they  are  four-footed,  and  live 
indifferently  on  land  or  in  the  water.  The  fe- 
male lays  and  hatches  her  eggs  ashore,  passing 
the  greater  portion  of  the  day  on  dry  land,  but 
at  night  retiring  to  the  river,  the  water  of 
which  is  warmer  than  the  night-air  and  the 
dew.  Of  all  known  animals  this  is  the  one 
which  from  the  smallest  size  grows  to  be  the 
greatest:  for  the  egg  of  the  crocodile  is  but  little 
bigger  than  that  of  the  goose,  and  the  young 
crocodile  is  in  proportion  to  the  egg;  yet  when 
it  is  full  grown,  the  animal  measures  frequent- 
ly seventeen  cubits  and  even  more.  It  has  the 
eyes  of  a  pig,  teeth  large  and  tusk-like,  of  a  size 
proportioned  to  its  frame;  unlike  any  other  an- 
imal, it  is  without  a  tongue;  it  cannot  move  its 
under-jaw,  and  in  this  respect  too  it  is  singular, 
being  the  only  animal  in  the  world  which 
moves  the  upper-jaw  but  not  the  under.  It  has 
strong  claws  and  a  scaly  skin,  impenetrable 
upon  the  back.  In  the  water  it  is  blind,  but  on 
land  it  is  very  keen  of  sight.  As  it  lives  chiefly 


THE  HISTORY 


63 


in  the  river,  it  has  the  inside  of  its  mouth  con- 
stantly covered  with  leeches;  hence  it  happens 
that,  while  all  the  other  birds  and  beasts  avoid 
it,  with  the  trochilus  it  lives  at  peace,  since  it 
owes  much  to  that  bird:  for  the  crocodile, 
when  he  leaves  the  water  and  comes  out  upon 
the  land,  is  in  the  habit  of  lying  with  his  mouth 
wide  open,  facing  the  western  breeze:  at  such 
times  the  trochilus  goes  into  his  mouth  and  de- 
vours the  leeches.  This  benefits  the  crocodile, 
who  is  pleased,  and  takes  care  not  to  hurt  the 
trochilus. 

69.  The  crocodile  is  esteemed  sacred  by  some 
of  the  Egyptians,  by  others  he  is  treated  as  an 
enemy.  Those  who  live  near  Thebes,  and  those 
who  dwell  around  Lake  Moms,  regard  them 
with  especial  veneration.  In  each  of  these  places 
they  keep  one  crocodile  in  particular,  who  is 
taught  to  be  tame  and  tractable.  They  adorn 
his  ears  with  ear-rings  of  molten  stone  or  gold, 
and  put  bracelets  on  his  fore-paws,  giving  him 
daily  a  set  portion  of  bread,  with  a  certain 
number  of   victims;  and,  after  having  thus 
treated  him  with  the  greatest  possible  attention 
while  alive,  they  embalm  him  when  he  dies 
and  bury  him  in  a  sacred  repository.  The  peo- 
ple of  Elephantine  on  the  other  hand,  are  so  far 
from  considering  these  animals  as  sacred  that 
they  even  eat  their  flesh.  In  the  Egyptian  lan- 
guage  they   are   not   called   crocodiles,   but 
Champsae.  The  name  of  crocodiles  was  given 
them  by  the  lonians,  who  remarked  their  re- 
semblance to  the  lizards,  which  in  Ionia  live  in 
the  walls  and  are  called  crocodiles. 

70.  The  modes  of  catching  the  crocodile  are 
many  and  various.  I  shall  only  describe  the  one 
which  seems  to  me  most  worthy  of  mention. 
They  bait  a  hook  with  a  chine  of  pork  and  let 
the  meat  be  carried  out  into  the  middle  of  the 
stream,  while  the  hunter  upon  the  bank  holds 
a  living  pig,  which  he  belabours.  The  croco- 
dile hears  its  cries,  and  making  for  the  sound, 
encounters  the  pork,  which  he  instantly  swal- 
lows down.  The  men  on  the  shore  haul,  and 
when  they  have  got  him  to  land,  the  first  thing 
the  hunter  does  is  to  plaster  his  eyes  with  mud. 
This  once  accomplished,  the  animal  is  des- 
patched with  ease,  otherwise  he  gives  great 
trouble. 

71.  The  hippopotamus,  in  the  canton  of  Pa- 
premis,  is  a  sacred  animal,  but  not  in  any  other 
part  of  Egypt.  It  may  be  thus  described: — It  is 
a  quadruped,  cloven-footed,  with  hoofs  like  an 
ox,  and  a  flat  nose.  It  has  the  mane  and  tail  of 
a  horse,  huge  tusks  which  are  very  conspic- 
uous, and  a  voice  like  a  horse's  neigh.  In  size 


64 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK  ii 


it  equals  the  biggest  oxen,  and  its  skin  is  so 
tough  that  when  dried  it  is  made  into  javelins. 

72.  Otters  also  are  found  in  the  Nile,  and 
are  considered  sacred.  Only  two  sorts  of  fish  are 
venerated,  that  called  the  lepidotus  and  the  eel. 
These  are  regarded  as  sacred  to  the  Nile,  as 
likewise  among  birds  is  the  vulpanser,  or  fox- 
goose. 

73.  They  have  also  another  sacred  bird  called 
the  phoenix,  which  I  myself  have  never  seen, 
except  in  pictures.  Indeed  it  is  a  great  rarity, 
even  in  Egypt,  only  coming  there  (according 
to  the  accounts  of  the  people  of  Heliopolis; 
once  in  five  hundred  years,  when  the  old  phoe- 
nix dies.  Its  size  and  appearance,  if  it  is  like 
the  pictures,  are  as  follow: — The  plumage  is 
partly  red,  partly  golden,  while  the  general 
make  and  size  are  almost  exactly  that  of  the 
eagle.  They  tell  a  story  of  what  this  bird  does, 
which  does  not  seem  to  me  to  be  credible:  that 
he  comes  all  the  way  from  Arabia,  and  brings 
the  parent  bird,  all  plastered  over  with  myrrh, 
to  the  temple  of  the  Sun,  and  there  buries  the 
body.  In  order  to  bring  him,  they  say,  he  first 
forms  a  ball  of  myrrh  as  big  as  he  finds  that  he 
can  carry;  then  he  hollows  out  the  ball,  and 
puts  his  parent  inside,  after  which  he  covers 
over  the  opening  with  fresh  myrrh,  and  the 
ball  is  then  of  exactly  the  same  weight  as  at 
first;  so  he  brings  it  to  Egypt,  plastered  over  as 
I  have  said,  and  deposits  it  in  the  temple  of  the 
Sun.  Such  is  the  story  they  tell  of  the  doings  of 
this  bird. 

74.  In  the  neighbourhood  of  Thebes  there  are 
some  sacred  serpents  which  are  perfectly  harm- 
less. They  are  of  small  size,  and  have  two  horns 
growing  out  of  the  top  of  the  head.  These 
snakes,  when  they  die,  are  buried  in  the  temple 
of  Jupiter,  the  god  to  whom  they  are  sacred. 

75.  I  went  once  to  a  certain  place  in  Arabia, 
almost  exactly  opposite  the  city  of  Buto,  to 
make  inquiries  concerning  the  winged  ser- 
pents. On  my  arrival  I  saw  the  back-bones  and 
ribs  of  serpents  in  such  numbers  as  it  is  im- 
possible to  describe:  of  the  ribs  there  were  a 
multitude  of  heaps,  some  great,  some  small, 
some  middle-sized.  The  place  where  the  bones 
lie  is  at  the  entrance  of  a  narrow  gorge  between 
steep  mountains,  which  there  open  upon  a 
spacious  plain  communicating  with  the  great 
plain  of  Egypt.  The  story  goes  that  with  the 
spring  the  winged  snakes  come  flying  from 
Arabia  towards  Egypt,  but  are  met  in  this 
gorge  by  the  birds  called  ibises,  who  forbid 
their  entrance  and  destroy  them  all.  The  Arab- 
ians assert,  and  the  Egyptians  also  admit,  that 


it  is  on  account  of  the  service  thus  rendered 
that  the  Egyptians  hold  the  ibis  in  so  much 
reverence. 

76.  The  ibis  is  a  bird  of  a  deep-black  colour, 
with  legs  like  a  crane;  its  beak  is  strongly 
hooked,  and  its  size  is  about  that  of  the  land- 
rail. This  is  a  description  of  the  black  ibis 
which  contends  with  the  serpents.  The  com- 
moner sort,  for  there  are  two  quite  distinct 
species,  has  the  head  and  the  whole  throat  bare 
of  feathers;  its  general  plumage  is  white,  but 
the  head  and  neck  are  jet  black,  as  also  are  the 
tips  of  the  wings  and  the  extremity  of  the  tail; 
in  its  beak  and  legs  it  resembles  the  other  spe- 
cies. The  winged  serpent  is  shaped  like  the 
water-snake.  Its  wings  are  not  feathered,  but 
resemble  very  closely  those  of  the  bat.  And  thus 
I  conclude  the  subject  of  the  sacred  animals. 

77.  With  respect  to  the  Egyptians  them- 
selves, it  is  to  be  remarked  that  those  who  live 
in  the  corn  country,  devoting  themselves,  as 
they  do,  far  more  than  any  other  people  in  the 
world,  to  the  preservation  of  the  memory  of 
past  actions,  are  the  best  skilled  in  history  of 
any  men  that  I  have  ever  met.  The  following 
is  the  mode  of  life  habitual  to  them: — For 
three  successive  days  in  each  month  they  purge 
the  body  by  means  of  emetics  and  clysters, 
which  is  done  out  of  a  regard  for  their  health, 
since  they  have  a  persuasion  that  every  disease 
to  which  men  are  liable  is  occasioned  by  the 
substances  whereon  they  feed.  Apart  from  any 
such  precautions,  they  are,  I  believe,  next  to 
the  Libyans,  the  healthiest  people  in  the  world 
— an  effect  of  their  climate,  in  my  opinion, 
which  has  no  sudden  changes.  Diseases  almost 
always  attack  men  when  they  are  exposed  to 
a  change,  and  never  more  than  during  changes 
of  the  weather.  They  live  on  bread  made  of 
spelt,  which  they  form  into  loaves  called  in 
their  own  tongue  cyllSstis.  Their  drink  is  a 
wine  which  they  obtain  from  barley,  as  they 
have  no  vines  in  their  country.  Many  kinds  of 
fish  they  eat  raw,  either  salted  or  dried  in  the 
sun.  Quails  also,  and  ducks  and  small  birds, 
they  eat  uncooked,  merely  first  salting  them. 
All  other  birds  and  fishes,  excepting  those 
which  are  set  apart  as  sacred,  are  eaten  either 
roasted  or  boiled. 

78.  In  social  meetings  among  the  rich,  when 
the  banquet  is  ended,  a  servant  carries  round 
to  the  several  guests  a  coffin,  in  which  there  is 
a  wooden  image  of  a  corpse,  carved  and  paint- 
ed to  resemble  nature  as  nearly  as  possible, 
about  a  cubit  or  two  cubits  in  length.  As  he 
shows  it  to  each  guest  in  turn,  the  servant  says, 


72-86] 


THE  HISTORY 


65 


"Gaze  here,  and  drink  and  be  merry;  for  when 
you  die,  such  will  you  be." 

79.  The  Egyptians  adhere  to  their  own  na- 
tional customs,  and  adopt  no  foreign  usages. 
Many  of  these  customs  are  worthy  of  note: 
among  others  their  song,  the  Linus,  which  is 
sung  under  various  names  not  only  in  Egypt 
but  in   Phoenicia,  in  Cyprus,  and  in  other 
places;  and  which  seems  to  be  exactly  the  same 
as  that  in  use  among  the  Greeks,  and  by  them 
called  Linus.  There  were  very  many  things  in 
Egypt  which  filled  me  with  astonishment,  and 
this  was  one  of  them.  Whence  could  the  Egyp- 
tians have  got  the  Linus?  It  appears  to  have 
been  sung  by  them  from  the  very  earliest  times. 
For  the  Linus  in  Egyptian  is  called  Maneros; 
and  they  told  me  that  Maneros  was  the  only 
son  of  their  first  king,  and  that  on  his  untimely 
death  he  was  honoured  by  the  Egyptians  with 
these  dirgelike  strains,  and  in  this  way  they 
got  their  first  and  only  melody. 

80.  There  is  another  custom  in  which  the 
Egyptians  resemble  a  particular  Greek  people, 
namely  the  Lacedaemonians.  Their  young  men, 
when  they  meet  their  elders  in  the  streets,  give 
way  to  them  and  step  aside;  and  if  an  elder 
come  in  where  young  men  are  present,  these 
latter  rise  from  their  seats.  In  a  third  point  they 
differ  entirely  from  all  the  nations  of  Greece. 
Instead  of  speaking  to  each  other  when  they 
meet  in  the  streets,  they  make  an  obeisance, 
sinking  the  hand  to  the  knee. 

81.  They  wear  a  linen  tunic  fringed  about 
the  legs,  and  called  calasiris;  over  this  they  have 
a  white  woollen  garment  thrown  on  afterwards. 
Nothing  of  woollen,  however,  is  taken  into 
their  temples  or  buried  with  them,  as  their  re- 
ligion forbids  it.  Here  their  practice  resembles 
the  rites  called  Orphic  and  Bacchic,  but  which 
are  in  reality  Egyptian  and  Pythagorean;  for 
no  one  initiated  in  these  mysteries   can  be 
buried  in  a  woollen  shroud,  a  religious  reason 
being  assigned  for  the  observance. 

82.  The  Egyptians  likewise  discovered  to 
which  of  the  gods  each  month  and  day  is  sac- 
red; and  found  out  from  the  day  of  a  man's 
birth  what  he  will  meet  with  in  the  course  of 
his  life,  and  how  he  will  end  his  days,  and  what 
sort  of  man  he  will  be — discoveries  whereof 
the  Greeks  engaged  in  poetry  have  made  a  use. 
The   Egyptians   have  also  discovered    more 
prognostics  than  all  the  rest  of  mankind  be- 
sides. Whenever  a  prodigy  takes  place,  they 
watch  and  record  the  result;  then,  if  anything 
similar  ever  happens  again,  they  expect  the 
same  consequences. 


83.  With  respect  to  divination,  they  hold 
that  it  is  a  gift  which  no  mortal  possesses,  but 
only  certain  of  the  gods:  thus  they  have  an 
oracle  of  Hercules,  one  of  Apollo,  of  Minerva, 
of  Diana,  of  Mars,  and  of  Jupiter.  Besides 
these,  there  is  the  oracle  of  Latona  at  Buto, 
which  is  held  in  much  higher  repute  than  any 
of  the  rest.  The  mode  of  delivering  the  oracles 
is  not  uniform,  but  varies  at  the  different 
shrines. 

84.  Medicine  is  practised  among  them  on  a 
plan  of  separation;  each  physician  treats  a 
single  disorder,  and  no  more:  thus  the  country 
swarms  with  medical  practitioners,  some  un- 
dertaking to  cure  diseases  of  the  eye,  others  of 
the  head,  others  again  of  the  teeth,  others  of 
the  intestines,  and  some  those  which  are  not 
local. 

85.  The  following  is  the  way  in  which  they 
conduct  their  mournings  and  their  funerals: — 
On  the  death  in  any  house  of  a  man  of  con- 
sequence, forthwith  the  women  of  the  family 
beplaster   their  heads,   and   sometimes   even 
their  faces,  with  mud;  and  then,  leaving  the 
body  indoors,  sally  forth  and  wander  through 
the  city,  with  their  dress  fastened  by  a  band, 
and  their  bosoms  bare,  beating  themselves  as 
they  walk.  All  the  female  relations  join  them 
and  do  the  same.  The  men  too,  similarly  be- 
girt, beat  their  breasts  separately.  When  these 
ceremonies  are  over,  the  body  is  carried  away 
to  be  embalmed. 

86.  There  are  a  set  of  men  in  Egypt  who 
practice  the  art  of  embalming,  and  make  it 
their  proper  business.  These  persons,  when  a 
body  is  brought  to  them,  show  the  bearers  vari- 
ous models  of  corpses,  made  in   wood,  and 
painted  so  as  to  resemble  nature.  The  most  per- 
fect is  said  to  be  after  the  manner  of  him  whom 
I  do  not  think  it  religious  to  name  in  connec- 
tion with  such  a  matter;  the  second  sort  is  in- 
ferior to  the  first,  and  less  costly;  the  third  is  the 
cheapest  of  all.  All  this  the  embalmers  explain, 
and  then  ask  in  which  way  it  is  wished  that 
the  corpse  should  be  prepared.  The  bearers  tell 
them,  and  having  concluded  their  bargain, 
take  their  departure,  while  the  embalmers,  left 
to  themselves,  proceed  to  their  task.  The  mode 
of  embalming,  according  to  the  most  perfect 
process,  is  the  following: — They  take  first  a 
crooked  piece  of  iron,  and  with  it  draw  out  the 
brain  through  the  nostrils,  thus  getting  rid  of 
a  portion,  while  the  skull  is  cleared  of  the  rest 
by  rinsing  with  drugs;  next  they  make  a  cut 
along  the  flank  with  a  sharp  Ethiopian  stone, 
and  take  out  the  whole  contents  of  the  abdo- 


66 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK  a 


men,  which  they  then  cleanse,  washing  it  thor- 
oughly with  palm  wine,  and  again  frequently 
with  an  infusion  of  pounded  aromatics.  After 
this  they  fill  the  cavity  with  the  purest  bruised 
myrrh,  with  cassia,  and  every  other  sort  of 
spicery  except  frankincense,  and  sew  up  the 
opening.  Then  the  body  is  placed  in  natrum 
for  seventy  days,  and  covered  entirely  over. 
After  the  expiration  of  that  space  of  time, 
which  must  not  be  exceeded,  the  body  is 
washed,  and  wrapped  round,  from  head  to  foot, 
with  bandages  of  fine  linen  cloth,  smeared  over 
with  gum,  which  is  used  generally  by  the  Egyp- 
tians in  the  place  of  glue,  and  in  this  state  it 
is  given  back  to  the  relations,  who  enclose  it  in 
a  wooden  case  which  they  have  had  made  for 
the  purpose,  shaped  into  the  figure  of  a  man. 
Then  fastening  the  case,  they  place  it  in  a  sepul- 
chral chamber,  upright  against  the  wall.  Such 
is  the  most  costly  way  of  embalming  the  dead. 

87.  If  persons  wish  to  avoid  expense,  and 
choose  the  second  process,  the  following  is  the 
method  pursued: — Syringes  are  filled  with  oil 
made  from  the  cedar-tree,  which  is  then,  with- 
out any  incision  or  disembowelling,  injected 
into  the  abdomen.  The  passage  by  which  it 
might  be  likely  to  return  is  stopped,  and  the 
body  laid  in  natrum  the  prescribed  number  of 
days.  At  the  end  of  the  time  the  cedar-oil  is  al- 
lowed to  make  its  escape;  and  such  is  its  power 
that  it  brings  with  it  the  whole  stomach  and  in- 
testines in  a  liquid  state.  The  natrum  mean- 
while has  dissolved  the  flesh,  and  so  nothing 
is  left  of  the  dead  body  but  the  skin  and  the 
bones.  It  is  returned  in  this  condition  to  the 
relatives,  without  any  further  trouble  being  be- 
stowed upon  it. 

88.  The  third  method  of  embalming,  which 
is  practised  in  the  case  of  the  poorer  classes,  is 
to  clear  out  the  intestines  with  a  clyster,  and  let 
the  body  lie  in  natrum  the  seventy  days,  after 
which  it  is  at  once  given  to  those  who  come  to 
fetch  it  away. 

89.  The  wives  of  men  of  rank  are  not  given 
to  be  embalmed  immediately  after  death,  nor 
indeed  are  any  of  the  more  beautiful  and  val- 
ued women.  It  is  not  till  they  have  been  dead 
three  or  four  days  that  they  are  carried  to  the 
embalmcrs.  This  is  done  to  prevent  indignities 
from  being  offered  them.  It  is  said  that  once  a 
case  of  this  kind  occurred:  the  man  was  de- 
tected by  the  information  of  his  fellow-work- 


man. 


90.  Whensoever  any  one,  Egyptian  or  for- 
eigner, has  lost  his  life  by  falling  a  prey  to  a 
crocodile,  or  by  drowning  in  the  river,  the  law 


compels  the  Inhabitants  of  the  city  near  which 
the  body  is  cast  up  to  have  it  embalmed,  and  to 
bury  it  in  one  of  the  sacred  repositories  with  all 
possible  magnificence.  No  one  may  touch  the 
corpse,  not  even  any  of  the  friends  or  relatives, 
but  only  the  priests  of  the  Nile,  who  prepare  it 
for  burial  with  their  own  hands — regarding  it 
as  something  more  than  the  mere  body  of  a 
man — and  themselves  lay  it  in  the  tomb. 

91 .  The  Egyptians  are  averse  to  adopt  Greek 
customs,  or,  in  a  word,  those  of  any  other  na- 
tion. This  feeling  is  almost  universal  among 
them.  At  Chemmis,  however,  which  is  a  large 
city  in  the  Thebaic  canton,  near  Neapolis,  there 
is  a  square  enclosure  sacred  to  Perseus,  son  of 
Danae.  Palm  trees  grow  all  round  the  place, 
which  has  a  stone  gateway  of  an  unusual  size, 
surmounted  by  two  colossal  statues,  also  in 
stone.  Inside  this  precinct  is  a  temple,  and  in 
the  temple  an  image  of  Perseus.  The  people  of 
Chemmis  say  that  Perseus  often  appears  to 
them,  sometimes  within  the  sacred  enclosure, 
sometimes  in  the  open  country:  one  of  the 
sandals  which  he  has  worn  is  frequently  found 
— two  cubits  in  length,  as  they  affirm — and 
then  all  Egypt  flourishes  greatly.  In  the  worship 
of  Perseus  Greek  ceremonies  are  used;  gym- 
nastic games  are  celebrated  in  his  honour,  com- 
prising every  kind  of  contest,  with  prizes  of 
cattle,  cloaks,  and  skins.  I  made  inquiries  of  the 
Chemmites  why  it  was  that  Perseus  appeared 
to  them  and  not  elsewhere  in  Egypt,  and  how 
they  came  to  celebrate  gymnastic  contests  un- 
like the  rest  of  the  Egyptians:  to  which  they 
answered,  "that  Perseus  belonged  to  their  city 
by  descent.  Danaiis  and  Lynceus  were  Chem- 
mites before  they  set  sail  for  Greece,  and  from 
them  Perseus  was  descended,"  they  said,  trac- 
ing the  genealogy;  "and  he,  when  he  came  to 
Egypt  for  the  purpose"  (which  the  Greeks  also 
assign)  "of  bringing  away  from  Libya  the 
Gorgon's  head,  paid  them  a  visit,  and  acknowl- 
edged them  for  his  kinsmen — he  had  heard 
the  name  of  their  city  from  his  mother  before 
he  left  Greece — he  bade  them  institute  a  gym- 
nastic contest  in  his  honour,  and  that  was  the 
reason  why  they  observed  the  practice." 

92.  The  customs  hitherto  described  are  those 
of  the  Egyptians  who  live  above  the  marsh- 
country.  The  inhabitants  of  the  marshes  have 
the  same  customs  as  the  rest,  as  well  in  those 
matters  which  have  been  mentioned  above  as 
in  respect  of  marriage,  each  Egyptian  taking 
to  himself,  like  the  Greeks,  a  single  wife;  but 
for  greater  cheapness  of  living  the  marsh-men 
practise  certain  peculiar  customs,  such  as  these 


THE  HISTORY 


67 


following.  They  gather  the  blossoms  of  a  cer- 
tain water-lily,  which  grows  in  great  abund- 
ance all  over  the  flat  country  at  the  time  when 
the  Nile  rises  and  floods  the  regions  along  its 
banks — the  Egyptians  call  it  the  lotus — they 
gather,  I  say,  the  blossoms  of  this  plant  and  dry 
them  in  the  sun,  after  which  they  extract  from 
the  centre  of  each  blossom  a  substance  like  the 
head  of  a  poppy,  which  they  crush  and  make 
into  bread.  The  root  of  the  lotus  is  likewise 
eatable,  and  has  a  pleasant  sweet  taste:  it  is 
round,  and  about  the  size  of  an  apple.  There 
is  also  another  species  of  the  lily  in  Egypt, 
which  grows,  like  the  lotus,  in  the  river,  and 
resembles  the  rose.  The  fruit  springs  up  side 
by  side  with  the  blossom,  on  a  separate  stalk, 
and  has  almost  exactly  the  look  of  the  comb 
made  by  wasps.  It  contains  a  number  of  seeds, 
about  the  size  of  an  olive-stone,  which  are 
good  to  eat:  and  these  are  eaten  both  green 
and  dried.  The  byblus  (papyrus),  which  grows 
year  after  year  in  the  marshes,  they  pull  up, 
and,  cutting  the  plant  in  two,  reserve  the  up- 
per portion  for  other  purposes,  but  take  the 
lower,  which  is  about  a  cubit  long,  and  either 
eat  it  or  else  sell  it.  Such  as  wish  to  enjoy  the 
byblus  in  full  perfection  bake  it  first  in  a  closed 
vessel,  heated  to  a  glow.  Some  of  these  folk, 
however,  live  entirely  on  fish,  which  are  gutted 
as  soon  as  caught,  and  then  hung  up  in  the 
sun:  when  dry,  they  are  used  as  food. 

93.  Gregarious  fish  are  not  found  in  any 
numbers  in  the  rivers;  they  frequent  the  la- 
gunes,  whence,  at  the  season  of  breeding,  they 
proceed  in  shoals  towards  the  sea.  The  males 
lead  the  way,  and  drop  their  milt  as  they  go, 
while  the  females,  following  close  behind,  ea- 
gerly swallow  it  down.  From  this  they  con- 
ceive,1 and  when,  after  passing  some  time  in 
the  sea,  they  begin  to  be  in  spawn,  the  whole 
shoal  sets  off  on  its  return  to  its  ancient  haunts. 
Now,  however,  it  is  no  longer  the  males,  but 
the  females,  who  take  the  lead:  they  swim  in 
front  in  a  body,  and  do  exactly  as  the  males 
did  before,  dropping,  little  by  little,  their  grains 
of  spawn  as  they  go,  while  the  males  in  the 
rear  devour  the  grains,  each  one  of  which  is 
a  fish.  A  portion  of  the  spawn  escapes  and  is 
not  swallowed  by  the  males,  and  hence  come 
the  fishes  which  grow  afterwards  to  maturity. 
When  any  of  this  son  of  fish  are  taken  on  their 
passage  to  the  sea,  they  are  found  to  have  the 
left  side  of  the  head  scarred  and  bruised;  while 
if  taken  on  their  return,  the  marks  appear  on 
the  right.  The  reason  is  that  as  they  swim 

1  Aristotle  shows  the  absurdity  of  this  statement 


down  the  Nile  seaward,  they  keep  close  to  the 
bank  of  the  river  upon  their  left,  and  returning 
again  up  stream  they  still  cling  to  the  same 
side,  hugging  h  and  brushing  against  it  con- 
stantly, to  be  sure  that  they  miss  not  their  road 
through  the  great  force  of  the  current.  When 
the  Nile  begins  to  rise,  the  hollows  in  the  land 
and  the  marshy  spots  near  the  river  are  flooded 
before  any  other  places  by  the  percolation  of 
the  water  through  the  riverbanks;  and  these, 
almost  as  soon  as  they  become  pools,  are  found 
to  be  full  of  numbers  of  little  fishes.  I  think 
that  I  understand  how  it  is  this  comes  to  pass. 
On  the  subsidence  of  the  Nile  the  year  before, 
though  the  fish  retired  with  the  retreating  wa- 
ters, they  had  first  deposited  their  spawn  in 
the  mud  upon  the  banks;  and  so,  when  at  the 
usual  season  the  water  returns,  small  fry  are 
rapidly  engendered  out  of  the  spawn  of  the 
preceding  year.  So  much  concerning  the  fish. 

94.  The  Egyptians  who  live  in  the  marshes 
use  for  the  anointing  of  their  bodies  an  oil 
made  from  the  fruit  of  the  sillicyprium,  which 
is  known  among  them  by  the  name  of  "kiki." 
To  obtain  this  they  plant  the  sillicyprium 
(which  grows  wild  in  Greece)  along  the  banks 
of  the  rivers  and  by  the  sides  of  the  lakes, 
where  it  produces  fruit  in  great  abundance, 
but  with  a  very  disagreeable  smell.  This  fruit 
is  gathered,  and  then  bruised  and  pressed,  or 
else  boiled  down  after  roasting:   the  liquid 
which  comes  from  it  is  collected  and  is  found 
to  be  unctuous,  and  as  well  suited  as  olive-oil 
for  lamps,  only  that  it  gives  out  an  unpleasant 
odour. 

95.  The  contrivances  which  they  use  against 
gnats,  wherewith  the  country  swarms,  are  the 
following.  In  the  parts  of  Egypt  above  the 
marshes  the  inhabitants  pass  the  night  upon 
lofty  towers,  which  are  of  great  service,  as  the 
gnats  are  unable  to  fly  to  any  height  on  account 
of  the  winds.    In  the  marsh-country,  where 
there  are  no  towers,  each  man  possesses  a  net 
instead.  By  day  it  serves  him  to  catch  fish, 
while  at  night  he  spreads  it  over  the  bed  in 
which  he  is  to  rest,  and  creeping  in,  goes  to 
sleep  underneath.  The  gnats,  which,  if  he  rolls 
himself  up  in  his  dress  or  in  a  piece  of  muslin, 
are  sure  to  bite  through  the  covering,  do  not 
so  much  as  attempt  to  pass  the  net. 

96.  The  vessels  used  in  Egypt  for  the  trans- 
port of  merchandise  are  made  of  the  Acantha 
(Thorn),  a  tree  which  in  its  growth  is  very 
like  the  Cyrenaic  lotus,  and  from  which  there 
exudes  a  gum.  They  cut  a  quantity  of  planks 
about  two  cubits  in  length  from  this  tree,  and 


68 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK  ii 


then  proceed  to  their  ship-building,  arranging 
the  planks  like  bricks,  and  attaching  them  by 
ties  to  a  number  of  long  stakes  or  poles  till  the 
hull  is  complete,  when  they  lay  the  cross-planks 
on  the  top  from  side  to  side.  They  give  the 
boats  no  ribs,  but  caulk  the  seams  with  papyrus 
on  the  inside.  Each  has  a  single  rudder,  which 
is  driven  straight  through  the  keel.  The  mast 
is  a  piece  of  acantha-wood,  and  the  sails  are 
made  of  papyrus.  These  boats  cannot  make 
way  against  the  current  unless  there  is  a  brisk 
breeze;  they  are,  therefore,  towed  up-stream 
from  the  shore:  down-stream  they  are  man- 
aged as  follows.  There  is  a  raft  belonging  to 
each,  made  of  the  wood  of  the  tamarisk,  fas- 
tened together  with  a  wattling  of  reeds;  and 
also  a  stone  bored  through  the  middle  about 
two  talents  in  weight.  The  raft  is  fastened  to 
the  vessel  by  a  rope,  and  allowed  to  float  down 
the  stream  in  front,  while  the  stone  is  attached 
by  another  rope  astern.  The  result  is  that  the 
raft,  hurried  forward  by  the  current,  goes  rap- 
idly down  the  river,  and  drags  the  "baris"  (for 
so  they  call  this  sort  of  boat)  after  it;  while 
the  stone,  which  is  pulled  along  in  the  wake 
of  the  vessel,  and  lies  deep  in  the  water,  keeps 
the  boat  straight.  There  are  a  vast  number  of 
these  vessels  in  Egypt,  and  some  of  them  are 
of  many  thousand  talents'  burthen. 

97.  When  the  Nile  overflows,  the  country 
is  converted  into  a  sea,  and  nothing  appears 
but  the  cities,  which  look  like  the  islands  in 
the  Egean.  At  this  season  boats  no  longer  keep 
the  course  of  the  river,  but  sail  right  across  the 
plain.  On  the  voyage  from  Naucratis  to  Mem- 
phis at  this  season,  you  pass  close  to  the  pyra- 
mids, whereas  the  usual  course  is  by  the  apex 
of  the  Delta,  and  the  city  of  Cercasorus.  You 
can  sail  also  from  the  maritime  town  of  Cano- 
bus  across  the  flat  to  Naucratis,  passing  by  the 
cities  of  Anthylla  and  Archandropolis. 

98.  The  former  of  these  cities,  which  is  a 
place  of  note,  is  assigned  expressly  to  the  wife 
of  the  ruler  of  Egypt  for  the  time  being,  to 
keep  her  in  shoes.  Such  has  been  the  custom 
ever  since  Egypt  fell  under  the  Persian  yoke. 
The  other  city  seems  to  me  to  have  got  its  name 
of     Archandropolis     from     Archander    the 
Phthian,  son  of  Achaeus,  and  son-in-law  of 
Danaus.  There  might  certainly  have  been  an- 
other Archander;  but,  at  any  rate,  the  name  is 
not  Egyptian. 

99.  Thus  far  I  have  spoken  of  Egypt  from 
my  own  observation,  relating  what  I  myself 
saw,  the  ideas  that  I  formed,  and  the  results 
of  my  own  researches.  What  follows  rests  on 


the  accounts  given  me  by  the  Egyptians,  which 
I  shall  now  repeat,  adding  thereto  some  par- 
ticulars which  fell  under  by  own  notice. 

The  priests  said  that  Men  was  the  first  king 
of  Egypt,  and  that  it  was  he  who  raised  the 
dyke  which  protects  Memphis  from  the  inun- 
dations of  the  Nile.  Before  his  time  the  river 
flowed  entirely  along  the  sandy  range  of  hills 
which  skirts  Egypt  on  the  side  of  Libya.  He, 
however,  by  banking  up  the  river  at  the  bend 
which  it  forms  about  a  hundred  furlongs  south 
of  Memphis,  laid  the  ancient  channel  dry, 
while  he  dug  a  new  course  for  the  stream  half- 
way between  the  two  lines  of  hills.  To  this  day, 
the  elbow  which  the  Nile  forms  at  the  point 
where  it  is  forced  aside  into  the  new  channel  is 
guarded  with  the  greatest  care  by  the  Persians, 
and  strengthened  every  year;  for  if  the  river 
were  to  burst  out  at  this  place,  and  pour  over 
the  mound,  there  would  be  danger  of  Memphis 
being  completely  overwhelmed  by  the  flood. 
Men,  the  first  king,  having  thus,  by  turning  the 
river,  made  the  tract  where  it  used  to  run,  dry 
land,  proceeded  in  the  first  place  to  build  the 
city  now  called  Memphis,  which  lies  in  the  nar- 
row part  of  Egypt;  after  which  he  further  ex- 
cavated a  lake  outside  the  town,  to  the  north 
and  west,  communicating  with  the  river, 
which  was  itself  the  eastern  boundary.  Besides 
these  works,  he  also,  the  priests  said,  built  the 
temple  of  Vulcan  which  stands  within  the  city, 
a  vast  edifice,  very  worthy  of  mention. 

100.  Next,  they  read  me  from  a  papyrus  the 
names  of  three  hundred  and  thirty  monarchs, 
who  (they  said)  were  his  successors  upon  the 
throne.  In  this  number  of  generations  there 
were  eighteen  Ethiopian  kings,  and  one  queen 
who  was  a  native;  all  the  rest  were  kings  and 
Egyptians.  The  queen  bore  the  same  name  as 
the  Babylonian  princess,  namely,  Nitocris. 
They  said  that  she  succeeded  her  brother;  he 
had  been  king  of  Egypt,  and  was  put  to  death 
by  his  subjects,  who  then  placed  her  upon  the 
throne.  Bent  on  avenging  his  death,  she  de- 
vised a  cunning  scheme  by  which  she  destroyed 
a  vast  number  of  Egyptians.  She  constructed  a 
spacious  underground  chamber,  and,  on  pre- 
tence of  inaugurating  it,  contrived  the  follow- 
ing:— Inviting  to  a  banquet  those  of  the  Egyp- 
tians whom  she  knew  to  have  had  the  chief 
share  in  the  murder  of  her  brother,  she  sud- 
denly, as  they  were  feasting,  let  the  river  in 
upon  them,  by  means  of  a  secret  duct  of  large 
size.  This,  and  this  only,  did  they  tell  me  of 
her,  except  that,  when  she  had  done  as  I  have 
said,  she  threw  herself  into  an  apartment  full 


97-io6] 


THE  HISTORY 


69 


of  ashes,  that  she  might  escape  the  vengeance 
whereto  she  would  otherwise  have  been  ex- 
posed, 

101.  The  other  kings,  they  said,  were  per- 
sonages of  no  note  or  distinction,  and  left  no 
monuments  of  any  account,  with  the  exception 
of  the  last,  who  was  named  Moeris.  He  left  sev- 
eral memorials   of  his   reign — the  northern 
gateway  of  the  temple  of  Vulcan,  the  lake  ex- 
cavated by  his  orders,  whose  dimensions  I  shall 
give  presently,  and  the  pyramids  built  by  him 
in  the  lake,  the  size  of  which  will  be  stated 
when  I  describe  the  lake  itself  wherein  they 
stand.  Such  were  his  works:  the  other  kings 
left  absolutely  nothing. 

1 02.  Passing  over  these  monarchs,  therefore, 
I  shall  speak  of  the  king  who  reigned  next, 
whose  name  was  Sesostris.  He,  the  priests  said, 
first  of  all  proceeded  in  a  fleet  of  ships  of  war 
from  the  Arabian  gulf  along  the  shores  of  the 
Erythraean  sea,  subduing  the  nations  as  he 
went,  until  he  finally  reached  a  sea  which 
could  not  be  navigated  by  reason  of  the  shoals. 
Hence  he  returned  to  Egypt,  where,  they  told 
me,  he  collected  a  vast  armament,  and  made  a 
progress  by  land  across  the  continent,  conquer- 
ing every  people  which  fell  in  his  way.  In  the 
countries  where  the  natives  withstood  his  at- 
tack, and  fought  gallantly  for  their  liberties, 
he  erected  pillars,  on  which  he  inscribed  his 
own  name  and  country,  and  how  that  he  had 
here  reduced  the  inhabitants  to  subjection  by 
the  might  of  his  arms:  where,  on  the  contrary, 
they  submitted  readily  and  without  a  struggle, 
he  inscribed  on  the  pillars,  in  addition  to  these 
particulars,  an  emblem  to  mark  that  they  were 
a  nation  of  women,  that  is,  unwarlike  and  ef- 
feminate. 

103.  In  this  way  he  traversed  the  whole  con- 
tinent of  Asia,  whence  he  passed  on  into  Eu- 
rope, and  made  himself  master  of  Scythia  and 
of  Thrace,  beyond  which  countries  I  do  not 
think  that  his  army  extended  its  march.  For 
thus  far  the  pillars  which  he  erected  are  still 
visible,  but  in  the  remoter  regions  they  are  no 
longer    found.    Returning    to    Egypt    from 
Thrace,  he  came,  on  his  way,  to  the  banks  of 
the  river  Phasis.  Here  I  cannot  say  with  any 
certainty  what  took  place.  Either  he  of  his  own 
accord  detached  a  body  of  -troops  from  his 
main  army  and  left  them  to  colonise  the  coun- 
try, or  else  a  certain  number  of  his  soldiers, 
wearied  with  their  long  wanderings,  deserted, 
and  established  themselves  on  the  banks  of  this 
stream. 

104.  There  can  be  no  doubt  that  the  Col- 


chians  are  an  Egyptian  race.  Before  I  heard  any 
mention  of  the  fact  from  others,  I  had  re- 
marked it  myself.  After  the  thought  had  struck 
me,  I  made  inquiries  on  the  subject  both  in 
Colchis  and  in  Egypt,  and  I  found  that  the  Col- 
chians  had  a  more  distinct  recollection  of  the 
Egyptians,  than  the  Egyptians  had  of  them. 
Still  the  Egyptians  said  that  they  believed  the 
Colchians  to  be  descended  from  the  army  of 
Sesostris.  My  own  conjectures  were  founded, 
first,  on  the  fact  that  they  are  black-skinned 
and  have  woolly  hair,  which  certainly  amounts 
to  but  little,  since  several  other  nations  are  so 
too;  but  further  and  more  especially,  on  the 
circumstance  that  the  Colchians,  the  Egyp- 
tians, and  the  Ethiopians,  arc  the  only  nations 
who  have  practised  circumcision  from  the  ear- 
liest times.  The  Phoenicians  and  the  Syrians  of 
Palestine  themselves  confess  that  they  learnt 
the  custom  of  the  Egyptians;  and  the  Syrians 
who  dwell  about  the  rivers  Therm6don  and 
Parthenius,  as  well  as  their  neighbours  the 
Macronians,  say  that  they  have  recently  adopt- 
ed it  from  the  Colchians.  Now  these  are  the 
only  nations  who  use  circumcision,  and  it  is 
plain  that  they  all  imitate  herein  the  Egyptians. 
With  respect  to  the  Ethiopians,  indeed,  I  can- 
not decide  whether  they  learnt  the  practice  of 
the  Egyptians,  or  the  Egyptians  of  them — it  is 
undoubtedly  of  very  ancient  date  in  Ethiopia 
— but  that  the  others  derived  their  knowledge 
of  it  from  Egypt  is  clear  to  me  from  the  fact 
that  the  Phoenicians,  when  they  come  to  have 
commerce  with  the  Greeks,  cease  to  follow  the 
Egyptians  in  this  custom,  and  allow  their  chil- 
dren to  remain  uncircumcised. 

105.  I  will  add  a  further  proof  to  the  iden- 
tity of  the  Egyptians  and  the  Colchians.  These 
two  nations  weave  their  linen  in  exactly  the 
same  way,  and  this  is  a  way  entirely  unknown 
to  the  rest  of  the  world;  they  also  in  their  whole 
mode  of  life  and  in  their  language  resemble 
one  another.  The  Colchian  linen  is  called  by 
the  Greeks  Sardinian,  while  that  which  comes 
from  Egypt  is  known  as  Egyptian. 

1 06.  The  pillars  which  Sesostris  erected  in 
the  conquered  countries  have  for  the  most  part 
disappeared;  but  in  the  part  of  Syria  called 
Palestine,  I  myself  saw  them  still  standing, 
with  the  writing  above-mentioned,  and  the  em- 
blem distinctly  visible.  In  Ionia  also,  there  are 
two  representations  of  this  prince  engraved 
upon  rocks,  one  on  the  road  from  Ephesus  to 
Phocaea,  the  other  between  Sardis  and  Smyrna. 
In  each  case  the  figure  is  that  of  a  man,  four 
cubits  and  a  span  high,  with  a  spear  in  his 


70 


HERODOTUS 


right  hand  and  a  bow  in  his  left,  the  rest  of  his 
costume  being  likewise  half  Egyptian,  half 
Ethiopian.  There  is  an  inscription  across  the 
breast  from  shoulder  to  shoulder,  in  the  sacred 
character  of  Egypt,  which  says,  "With  my  own 
shoulders  I  conquered  this  land."  The  con- 
queror does  not  tell  who  he  is,  or  whence  he 
comes,  though  elsewhere  Sesostris  records  these 
facts.  Hence  it  has  been  imagined  by  some  of 
those  who  have  seen  these  forms,  that  they  are 
figures  of  Memnon;  but  such  as  think  so  err 
very  widely  from  the  truth. 

107.  This  Sesostris,  the  priests  went  on  to 
say,  upon  his  return  home,  accompanied  by 
vast  multitudes  of  the  people  whose  countries 
he  had  subdued,  was  received  by  his  brother, 
whom  he  had  made  viceroy  of  Egypt  on  his  de- 
parture, at  Daphna!  near  Pelusium,  and  invited 
by  him  to  a  banquet,  which  he  attended,  to- 
gether with  his  sons.  Then  his  brother  piled  a 
quantity  of  wood  all  round  the  building,  and 
having  so  done  set  it  alight.  Sesostris,  discov- 
ering what  had  happened,  took  counsel  in- 
stantly with  his  wife,  who  had  accompanied 
him  to  the  feast,  and  was  advised  by  her  to  lay 
two  of  their  six  sons  upon  the  fire,  and  so  make 
a  bridge  across  the  flames,  whereby  the  rest 
might  effect  their  escape.  Sesostris  did  as  she 
recommended,  and  thus  while  two  of  his  sons 
were  burnt  to  death,  he  himself  and  his  other 
children  were  saved. 

1 08.  The  king  then  returned  to  his  own  land 
and  took  vengeance  upon  his  brother,  after 
which  he  proceeded  to  make  use  of  the  multi- 
tudes whom  he  had  brought  with  him  from 
the  conquered  countries,  partly  to  drag  the 
huge  masses  of  stone  which  were  moved  in  the 
course  of  his  reign  to  the  temple  of  Vulcan — 
partly  to  dig  the  numerous  canals  with  which 
the  whole  of  Egypt  is  intersected.  By  these 
forced  labours  the  entire  face  of  the  country 
was  changed;  for  whereas  Egypt  had  formerly 
been  a  region  suited  both  for  horses  and  car- 
riages, henceforth  it  became  entirely  unfit  for 
either.  Though  a  flat  country  throughout  its 
whole  extent,  it  is  now  unfit  for  either  horse  or 
carriage,  being  cut  up  by  the  canals,  which  are 
extremely  numerous  and  run  in  all  directions. 
The  king's  object  was  to  supply  Nile  water  to 
the  inhabitants  of  the  towns  situated  in  the 
mid-country,  and  not  lying  upon  the  river;  for 
previously  they  had  been  obliged,  after  the  sub- 
sidence of  the  floods,  to  drink  a  brackish  water 
which  they  obtained  from  wells. 

109.  Sesostris  also,  they  declared,  made  a  di- 
vision of  the  soil  of  Egypt  among  the  inhabi- 


[  BOOK  n 

tants,  assigning  square  plots  of  ground  of  equal 
size  to  all,  and  obtaining  his  chief  revenue 
from  the  rent  which  the  holders  were  required 
to  pay  him  year  by  year.  If  the  river  carried 
away  any  portion  of  a  man's  lot,  he  appeared 
before  the  king,  and  related  what  had  hap- 
pened; upon  which  the  king  sent  persons  to 
examine,  and  determine  by  measurement  the 
exact  extent  of  the  loss;  and  thenceforth  only 
such  a  rent  was  demanded  of  him  as  was  pro- 
portionate to  the  reduced  size  of  his  land. 
From  this  practice,  I  think,  geometry  first  came 
to  be  known  in  Egypt,  whence  it  passed  into 
Greece.  The  sun-dial,  however,  and  the  gno- 
mon with  the  division  of  the  day  into  twelve 
parts,  were  received  by  the  Greeks  from  the 
Babylonians. 

no.  Sesostris  was  king  not  only  of  Egypt, 
but  also  of  Ethiopia.  He  was  the  only  Egyp- 
tian monarch  who  ever  ruled  over  the  latter 
country.  He  left,  as  memorials  of  his  reign,  the 
stone  statues  which  stand  in  front  of  the  tem- 
ple of  Vulcan,  two  of  which,  representing  him- 
self and  his  wife,  are  thirty  cubits  in  height, 
while  the  remaining  four,  which  represent  his 
sons,  are  twenty  cubits.  These  are  the  statues,  in 
front  of  which  the  priest  of  Vulcan,  very  many 
years  afterwards,  would  not  allow  Darius  the 
Persian  to  place  a  statue  of  himself;  "because," 
he  said,  "Darius  had  not  equalled  the  achieve- 
ments of  Sesostris  the  Egyptian:  for  while  Se- 
sostris had  subdued  to  the  full  as  many  nations 
as  ever  Darius  had  brought  under,  he  had  like- 
wise conquered  the  Scythians,  whom  Darius 
had  failed  to  master.  It  was  not  fair,  therefore, 
that  he  should  erect  his  statue  in  front  of  the 
offerings  of  a  king,  whose  deeds  he  had  been 
unable  to  surpass."  Darius,  they  say,  pardoned 
the  freedom  of  this  speech. 

in.  On  the  death  of  Sesostris,  his  son  Phe- 
ron,  the  priests  said,  mounted  the  throne.  He 
undertook  no  warlike  expeditions;  being 
struck  with  blindness,  owing  to  the  following 
circumstance.  The  river  had  swollen  to  the  un- 
usual height  of  eighteen  cubits,  and  had  over- 
flowed all  the  fields,  when,  a  sudden  wind  aris- 
ing, the  water  rose  in  great  waves.  Then  the 
king,  in  a  spirit  of  impious  violence,  seized 
his  spear,  and  hurled  it  into  the  strong  eddies 
of  the  stream.  Instantly  he  was  smitten  with 
disease  of  the  eyes,  from  which  after  a  little 
while  he  became  blind,  continuing  without 
the  power  of  vision  for  ten  years.  At  last,  in  the 
eleventh  year,  an  oracular  announcement 
reached  him  from  the  city  of  Buto,  to  the  effect, 
that  "the  time  of  his  punishment  had  run  out, 


107-115] 


THE  HISTORY 


71 


and  he  should  recover  his  sight  by  washing  his 
eyes  with  urine.  He  must  find  a  woman  who 
had  been  faithful  to  her  husband,  and  had  nev- 
er preferred  to  him  another  man."  The  king, 
therefore,  first  of  all  made  trial  of  his  wife,  but 
to  no  purpose — he  continued  as  blind  as  before. 
So  he  made  the  experiment  with  other  women, 
until  at  length  he  succeeded,  and  in  this  way 
recovered  his  sight.  Hereupon  he  assembled  all 
the  women,  except  the  last,  and  bringing  them 
to  the  city  which  now  bears  the  name  of  Ery- 
thrabolus  (Red-soil),  he  there  burnt  them  all, 
together  with  the  place  itself.  The  woman  to 
whom  he  owed  his  cure,  he  married,  and  after 
his  recovery  was  complete,  he  presented  offer- 
ings to  all  the  temples  of  any  note,  among 
which  the  best  worthy  of  mention  are  the  two 
stone  obelisks  which  he  gave  to  the  temple  of 
the  Sun.  These  are  magnificent  works;  each  is 
made  of  a  single  stone,  eight  cubits  broad,  and 
a  hundred  cubits  in  height. 

112.  Pheron,  they  said,  was  succeeded  by  a 
man  of  Memphis,  whose  name,  in  the  language 
of  the  Greeks,  was  Proteus.  There  is  a  sacred 
precinct  of  this  king  in  Memphis,  which  is  very 
beautiful,  and  richly  adorned,  situated  south 
of  the  great  temple  of  Vulcan.  Phoenicians 
from  the  city  of  Tyre  dwell  all  round  this  pre- 
cinct, and  the  whole  place  is  known  by  the 
name  of  "the  camp  of  the  Tynans."  Within  the 
enclosure  stands  a  temple,  which  is  called  that 
of  Venus  the  Stranger.  I  conjecture  the  build- 
ing to  have  been  erected  to  Helen,  the  daugh- 
ter of  Tyndarus;  first,  because  she,  as  I  have 
heard  say,  passed  some  time  at  the  court  of  Pro- 
teus; and  secondly,  because  the  temple  is  dedi- 
cated to  Venus  the  Stranger;  for  among  all  the 
many  temples  of  Venus  there  is  no  other  where 
the  goddess  bears  this  title. 

113.  The  priests,  in  answer  to  my  inquiries 
on  the  subject  of  Helen,  informed  me  of  the 
following  particulars.  When  Alexander   had 
carried  off  Helen  from  Sparta,  he  took  ship  and 
sailed  homewards.  On  his  way  across  the  Egean 
a  gale  arose,  which  drove  him  from  his  course 
and  took  him  down  to  the  sea  of  Egypt;  hence, 
as  the  wind  did  not  abate,  he  was  carried  on  to 
the  coast,  when  he  went  ashore,  landing  at  the 
Salt-Pans,  in  that  mouth  of  the  Nile  which  is 
now  called  the  Canobic.  At  this  place  there 
stood  upon  the  shore  a  temple,  which  still  ex- 
ists, dedicated  to  Hercules.  If  a  slave  runs  away 
from  his  master,  and  taking  sanctuary  at  this 
shrine  gives  himself  up  to  the  god,  and  receives 
certain  sacred  marks  upon  his  person,  whoso- 
ever his  master  may  be,  he  cannot  lay  hand  on 


him.  This  law  still  remained  unchanged  to  my 
time.  Hearing,  therefore,  of  the  custom  of  the 
place,  the  attendants  of  Alexander  deserted 
him,  and  fled  to  the  temple,  where  they  sat  as 
suppliants.  While  there,  wishing  to  damage 
their  master,  they  accused  him  to  the  Egyp- 
tians, narrating  all  the  circumstances  of  the 
rape  of  Helen  and  the  wrong  done  to  Mene- 
laus.  These  charges  they  brought,  not  only 
before  the  priests,  but  also  before  the  warden 
of  that  mouth  of  the  river,  whose  name  was 
Thonis. 

114.  As  soon  as  he  received  the  intelligence, 
Th6nis  sent  a  message  to  Proteus,  who  was  at 
Memphis,  to  this  effect:  "A  stranger  is  arrived 
from  Greece;  he  is  by  race  a  Teucrian,  and  has 
done  a  wicked  deed  in  the  country  from  which 
he  is  come.  Having  beguiled  the  wife  of  the 
man  whose  guest  he  was,  he  carried  her  away 
with  him,  and  much  treasure  also.  Compelled 
by  stress  of  weather,  he  has  now  put  in  here. 
Are  we  to  let  him  depart  as  he  came,  or  shall 
we  seize  what  he  has  brought?"  Proteus  re- 
plied, "Seize  the  man,  be  he  who  he  may,  that 
has  dealt  thus  wickedly  with  his  friend,  and 
bring  him  before  me,  that  1  may  hear  what  he 
will  say  for  himself." 

115.  Thonis,  on  receiving  these  orders,  ar- 
rested Alexander,  and  stopped  the  departure 
of  his  ships;  then,  taking  with  him  Alexander, 
Helen,  the  treasures,  and  also  the  fugitive 
slaves,  he  went  up  to  Memphis.  When  all  were 
arrived,  Proteus  asked   Alexander,   "who  he 
was,  and  whence  he  had  come?"  Alexander  re- 
plied by  giving  his  descent,  the  name  of  his 
country,  and  a  true  account  of  his  late  voyage. 
Then  Proteus  questioned  him  as  to  how  he  got 
possession  of  Helen.  In  his  reply  Alexander  be- 
came confused,  and  diverged  from  the  truth, 
whereon  the  slaves  interposed,  confuted  his 
statements,  and  told  the  whole  history  of  the 
crime.  Finally,  Proteus  delivered  judgment  as 
follows:  "Did  I  not  regard  it  as  a  matter  of  the 
utmost  consequence  that  no  stranger  driven  to 
my  country  by  adverse  winds  should  ever  be 
put  to  death,  I  would  certainly  have  avenged 
the  Greek  by  slaying  thee.  Thou  basest  of  men, 
— after  accepting  hospitality,  to  do  so  wicked  a 
deed!  First,  thou  didst  seduce  the  wife  of  thy 
own  host — then,  not  content  therewith,  thou 
must  violently  excite  her  mind,  and  steal  her 
away  from  her  husband.  Nay,  even  so  thou 
wert  not  satisfied,  but  on  leaving,  thou  must 
plunder  the  house  in  which  thou  hadst  been  a 
guest.  Now  then,  as  I  think  it  of  the  greatest 
importance  to  put  no  stranger  to  death,  I  suffer 


72 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK  ii 


thce  to  depart;  but  the  woman  and  the  treas- 
ures I  shall  not  permit  to  be  carried  away.  Here 
they  must  stay,  till  the  Greek  stranger  comes  in 
person  and  takes  them  back  with  him.  For  thy- 
self and  thy  companions,  I  command  thee  to 
begone  from  my  land  within  the  space  of  three 
days — and  I  warn  you,  that  otherwise  at  the 
end  of  that  time  you  will  be  treated  as  ene- 
mies." 

1 1 6.  Such  was  the  tale  told  me  by  the  priests 
concerning  the  arrival  of  Helen  at  the  court  of 
Proteus.  It  seems  to  me  that  Homer  was  ac- 
quainted with  this  story,  and  while  discarding 
it,  because  he  thought  it  less  adapted  for  epic 
poetry  than  the  version  which  he  followed, 
showed  that  it  was  not  unknown  to  him.  This 
is  evident  from  the  travels  which  he  assigns  to 
Alexander  in  the  Iliad — and  let  it  be  borne  in 
mind  that  he  has  nowhere  else  contradicted 
himself — making  him  be  carried  out  of  his 
course  on  his  return  with  Helen,  and  after  di- 
vers wanderings  come  at  last  to  Sidon  in  Phoe- 
nicia. The  passage  is  in  the  Bravery  of  Dio- 
med,1  and  the  words  are  as  follows: — 

There  were  the  robes,  many-coloured,  the  wor\ 
of  Sidonian  women: 

They  from  Sidon  had  come,  what  time  god- 
shaped  Alexander 

Over  the  broad  sea  brought,  that  way,  the  high- 
born Helen. 

In  the  Odyssey  also  the  same  fact  is  alluded 
to,  in  these  words:2 — 

Such,  so  wisely  prepared,  were  the  drugs  that  her 

stores  afforded, 
Excellent;  gift  which  once  Polydamna,  partner  of 

Thorns, 
Gave  her  in  Egypt,  where  many  the  simples  that 

grow  in  the  meadows, 
Potent  to  cure  in  part,  in  part  as  potent  to  injure. 

Menelaus  too,  in  the  same  poem,  thus  ad- 
dresses Telemachus:3 — 
Much  did  I  long  to  return  t  but  the  Gods  still  \ept 

me  in  Egypt — 

Angry  because  1  had  failed  to  pay  them  their  hec- 
atombs duly. 

In  these  places  Homer  shows  himself  ac- 
quainted with  the  voyage  of  Alexander  to 
Egypt,  for  Syria  borders  on  Egypt,  and  the 
Phoenicians,  to  whom  Sidon  belongs,  dwell  in 
Syria. 

117.  From  these  various  passages,  and  from 
that  about  Sidon  especially,  it  is  clear  that  Ho- 
mer did  not  write  the  Cypria.  For  there  it  is 

1  Iliad ,  Bk  vi.  290-292. 

2  Odyssey,  Bk  iv,  227-230. 
*lbid>,  Bk  iv.  351-352. 


said  that  Alexander  arrived  at  Ilium  with  Hel- 
en on  the  third  day  after  he  left  Sparta,  the 
wind  having  been  favourable,  and  the  sea 
smooth;  whereas  in  the  Iliad,  the  poet  makes 
him  wander  before  he  brings  her  home. 
Enough,  however,  for  the  present  of  Homer 
and  the  Cypria. 

1 1 8.  I  made  inquiry  of  the  priests  whether 
the  story  which  the  Greeks  tell  about  Ilium  is 
a  fable,  or  no.  In  reply  they  related  the  follow- 
ing particulars,  of  which  they  declared  that 
Menelaus  had  himself  informed  them.  After 
the  rape  of  Helen,  a  vast  army  of  Greeks,  wish- 
ing to  render  help  to  Menelaus,  set  sail  for  the 
Teucrian  territory;  on  their  arrival  they  disem- 
barked, and  formed  their  camp,  after  which 
they  sent  ambassadors  to  Ilium,  of  whom  Men- 
elaus was  one.  The  embassy  was  received  with- 
in the  walls,  and  demanded  the  restoration  of 
Helen  with  the  treasures  which  Alexander  had 
carried  off,  and  likewise  required  satisfaction 
for  the  wrong  done.  The  Teucrians  gave  at 
once  the  answer  in  which  they  persisted  ever 
afterwards,  backing  their  assertions  sometimes 
even  with  oaths,  to  wit,  that  neither  Helen,  nor 
the  treasures  claimed,  were  in  their  possession, 
— both  the  one  and  the  other  had  remained, 
they  said,  in  Egypt;  and  it  was  not  just  to  come 
upon  them  for  what  Proteus,  king  of  Egypt, 
was  detaining.  The  Greeks,  imagining  that  the 
Teucrians  were  merely  laughing  at  them,  laid 
siege  to  the  town,  and  never  rested  until  they 
finally  took  it.  As,  however,  no  Helen  was 
found,  and  they  were  still  told  the  same  story, 
they  at  length  believed  in  its  truth,  and  des- 
patched Menelaus  to  the  court  of  Proteus. 

119.  So  Menelaus  travelled  to  Egypt,  and  on 
his  arrival  sailed  up  the  river  as  far  as  Mem- 
phis, and  related  all  that  had  happened.  He 
met  with  the  utmost  hospitality,  received  Hel- 
en back  unharmed,  and  recovered  all  his  treas- 
ures. After  this  friendly  treatment  Menelaus, 
they  said,  behaved  most  unjustly  towards  the 
Egyptians;  for  as  it  happened  that  at  the  time 
when  he  wanted  to  take  his  departure,  he  was 
detained  by  the  wind  being  contrary,  and  as 
he  found  this  obstruction  continue,  he  had  re- 
course to  a  most  wicked  expedient.  He  seized, 
they  said,  two  children  of  the  people  of  the 
country,  and  offered  them  up  in  sacrifice. 
When  this  became  known,  the  indignation  of 
the  people  was  stirred,  and  they  went  in  pur- 
suit of  Menelaus,  who,  however,  escaped  with 
his  ships  to  Libya,  after  which  the  Egyptians 
could  not  say  whither  he  went.  The  rest  they 
knew  full  well,  partly  by  the  inquiries  which 


THE  HISTORY 


73 


they  had  made,  and  partly  from  the  circum- 
stances having  taken  place  in  their  own  land, 
and  therefore  not  admitting  of  doubt. 

1 20.  Such  is  the  account  given  by  the  Egyp- 
tian priests,  and  I  am  myself  inclined  to  regard 
as  true  all  that  they  say  of  Helen  from  the  fol- 
lowing considerations: — If  Helen  had  been  at 
Troy,  the  inhabitants  would,  I  think,  have  giv- 
en her  up  to  the  Greeks,  whether  Alexander 
consented  to  it  or  no.  For  surely  neither  Priam, 
nor  his  family,  could  have  been  so  infatuated 
as  to  endanger  their  own  persons,  their  chil- 
dren, and  their  city,  merely  that  Alexander 
might  possess  Helen.  At  any  rate,  if  they  de- 
termined to  refuse  at  first,  yet  afterwards  when 
so  many  of  the  Trojans  fell  on  every  encounter 
with  the  Greeks,  and  Priam  too  in  each  battle 
lost  a  son,  or  sometimes  two,  or  three,  or  even 
more,  if  we  may  credit  the  epic  poets,  I  do  not 
believe  that  even  if  Priam  himself  had  been 
married  to  her  he  would  have  declined  to  de- 
liver her  up,  with  the  view  of  bringing  the  se- 
ries of  calamities  to  a  close.  Nor  was  it  as  if 
Alexander   had  been  heir  to  the  crown,  in 
which  case  he  might  have  had  the  chief  man- 
agement of  affairs,  since  Priam  was  already 
old.  Hector,  who  was  his  elder  brother,  and  a 
far  braver  man,  stood  before  him,  and  was  the 
heir  to  the  kingdom  on  the  death  of  their  fa- 
ther Priam.  And  it  could  not  be  Hector's  inter- 
est to  uphold  his  brother  in  his  wrong,  when 
it  brought  such  dire  calamities  upon  himself 
and  the  other  Trojans.  But  the  fact  was  that 
they  had  no  Helen  to  deliver,  and  so  they  told 
the  Greeks,  but  the  Greeks  would  not  believe 
what  they  said — Divine  Providence,  as  I  think, 
so  willing,  that  by  their  utter  destruction  it 
might  be  made  evident  to  all  men  that  when 
great  wrongs  are  done,  the  gods  will  surely 
visit  them  with  great  punishments.  Such,  at 
least,  is  my  view  of  the  matter. 

121.  (i.)  When  Proteus  died,  Rhampsini- 
tus,  the  priests  informed  me,  succeeded  to  the 
throne.   His   monuments   were   the   western 
gateway  of  the  temple  of  Vulcan,  and  the  two 
statues  which  stand  in  front  of  this  gateway, 
called  by  the  Egyptians,  the  one  Summer,  the 
other  Winter,  each  twenty-five  cubits  in  height. 
The  statue  of  Summer,  which  is  the  northern- 
most of  the  two,  is  worshipped  by  the  natives, 
and  has  offerings  made  to  it;  that  of  Winter, 
which  stands  towards  the  south,  is  treated  in 
exactly  the  contrary  way.  King  Rhampsinitus 
was  possessed,  they  said,  of  great  riches  in  sil- 
ver— indeed  to  such  an  amount,  that  none  of 
the  princes,  his  successors,  surpassed  or  even 


equalled  his  wealth.  For  the  better  custody  of 
this  money,  he  proposed  to  build  a  vast  cham- 
ber of  hewn  stone,  one  side  of  which  was  to 
form  a  part  of  the  outer  wall  of  his  palace.  The 
builder,  therefore,  having  designs  upon  the 
treasures,  contrived,  as  he  was  making  the 
building,  to  insert  in  this  wall  a  stone,  which 
could  easily  be  removed  from  its  place  by  two 
men,  or  even  by  one.  So  the  chamber  was  fin- 
ished, and  the  king's  money  stored  away  in  it. 
Time  passed,  and  the  builder  fell  sick,  when 
finding  his  end  approaching,  he  called  for  his 
two  sons,  and  related  to  them  the  contrivance 
he  had  made  in  the  king's  treasure-chamber, 
telling  them  it  was  for  their  sakcs  he  had  done 
it,  that  so  they  might  always  live  in  affluence. 
Then  he  gave  them  clear  directions  concerning 
the  mode  of  removing  the  stone,  and  commun- 
icated the  measurements,  bidding  them  care- 
fully keep  the  secret,  whereby  they  would  be 
Comptrollers  of  the  Royal  Exchequer  so  long 
as  they  lived.  Then  the  father  died,  and  the 
sons  were  not  slow  in  setting  to  work:  they 
went  by  night  to  the  palace,  found  the  stone  in 
the  wall  of  the  building,  and  having  removed 
it  with  ease,  plundered  the  treasury  of  a  round 
sum. 

(2.)  When  the  king  next  paid  a  visit  to  the 
apartment,  he  was  astonished  to  see  that  the 
money  was  sunk  in  some  of  the  vessels  wherein 
it  was  stored  away.  Whom  to  accuse,  however, 
he  knew  not,  as  the  seals  were  all  perfect,  and 
the  fastenings  of  the  room  secure.  Still  each 
time  that  he  repeated  his  visits,  he  found  that 
more  money  was  gone.  The  thieves  in  truth 
never  stopped,  but  plundered  the  treasury  ever 
more  and  more.  At  last  the  king  determined  to 
have  some  traps  made,  and  set  near  the  vessels 
which  contained  his  wealth.  This  was  done, 
and  when  the  thieves  came,  as  usual,  to  the 
treasure-chamber,  and  one  of  them  entering 
through  the  aperture,  made  straight  for  the 
jars,  suddenly  he  found  himself  caught  in  one 
of  the  traps.  Perceiving  that  he  was  lost,  he  in- 
stantly called  his  brother,  and  telling  him  what 
had  happened,  entreated  him  to  enter  as  quick- 
ly as  possible  and  cut  off  his  head,  that  when 
his  body  should  be  discovered  it  might  not  be 
recognised,  which  would  have  the  effect  of 
bringing  ruin  upon  both.  The  other  thief 
thought  the  advice  good,  and  was  persuaded 
to  follow  it — then,  fitting  the  stone  into  its 
place,  he  went  home,  taking  with  him  his 
brother's  head. 

(3.)  When  day  dawned,  the  king  came  into 
the  room,  and  marvelled  greatly  to  see  the 


74 


HERODOTUS 


[  BOOK  ii 


body  of  the  thief  in  the  trap  without  a  head, 
while  the  building  was  still  whole,  and  neither 
entrance  nor  exit  was  to  be  seen  anywhere.  In 
this  perplexity  he  commanded  the  body  of  the 
dead  man  to  be  hung  up  outside  the  palace 
wall,  and  set  a  guard  to  watch  it,  with  orders 
that  if  any  persons  were  seen  weeping  or  la- 
menting near  the  place,  they  should  be  seized 
and  brought  before  him.  When  the  mother 
heard  of  this  exposure  of  the  corpse  of  her  son, 
she  took  it  sorely  to  heart,  and  spoke  to  her  sur- 
viving child,  bidding  him  devise  some  plan  or 
other  to  get  back  the  body,  and  threatening, 
that  if  he  did  not  exert  himself,  she  would  go 
herself  to  the  king,  and  denounce  him  as  the 
robber. 

(4.)  The  son  said  all  he  could  to  persuade 
her  to  let  the  matter  rest,  but  in  vain;  she  still 
continued  to  trouble  him,  until  at  last  he  yield- 
ed to  her  importunity,  and  contrived  as  fol- 
lows:— Filling  some  skins  with  wine,  he  load- 
ed them  on  donkeys,  which  he  drove  before 
him  till  he  came  to  the  place  where  the  guards 
were  watching  the  dead  body,  when  pulling 
two  or  three  of  the  skins  towards  him,  he  un- 
tied some  of  the  necks  which  dangled  by  the 
asses'  sides.  The  wine  poured  freely  out,  where- 
upon he  began  to  beat  his  head,  and  shout  with 
all  his  might,  seeming  not  to  know  which  of 
the  donkeys  he  should  turn  to  first.  When  the 
guards  saw  the  wine  running,  delighted  to 
profit  by  the  occasion,  they  rushed  one  and  all 
into  the  road,  each  with  some  vessel  or  other, 
and  caught  the  liquor  as  it  was  spilling.  The 
driver  pretended  anger,  and  loaded  them  with 
abuse;  whereon  they  did  their  best  to  pacify 
him,  until  at  last  he  appeared  to  soften,  and  re- 
cover his  good  humour,  drove  his  asses  aside  out 
of  the  road,  and  set  to  work  to  rearrange  their 
burthens;  meanwhile,  as  he  talked  and  chatted 
with  the  guards,  one  of  them  began  to  rally 
him,  and  make  him  laugh,  whereupon  he  gave 
them  one  of  the  skins  as  a  gift.  They  now  made 
up  their  minds  to  sit  down  and  have  a  drink- 
ing-bout where  they  were,  so  they  begged  him 
to  remain  and  drink  with  them.  Then  the  man 
let  himself  be  persuaded,  and  stayed.  As  the 
drinking  went  on,  they  grew  very  friendly  to- 
gether, so  presently  he  gave  them  another 
skin,  upon  which  they  drank  so  copiously  that 
they  were  all  overcome  with  the  liquor,  and 
growing  drowsy  lay  down,  and  fell  asleep 
on  the  spot.  The  thief  waited  till  it  was  the 
dead  of  the  night,  and  then  took  down  the 
body  of  his  brother;  after  which,  in  mockery, 
he  shaved  off  the  right  side  of  all  the  soldiers' 


beards,1  and  so  left  them.  Laying  his  brother's 
body  upon  the  asses,  he  carried  it  home  to  his 
mother,  having  thus  accomplished  the  thing 
that  she  had  required  of  him. 

(5.)  When  it  came  to  the  king's  ears  that 
the  thief's  body  was  stolen  away,  he  was  sorely 
vexed.  Wishing,  therefore,  whatever  it  might 
cost,  to  catch  the  man  who  had  contrived  the 
trick,  he  had  recourse  (the  priests  said)  to  an 
expedient,  which  I  can  scarcely  credit.  He  sent 
his  own  daughter  to  the  common  stews,  with 
orders  to  admit  all  comers,  but  to  require  every 
man  to  tell  her  what  was  the  cleverest  and 
wickedest  thing  he  had  done  in  the  whole 
course  of  his  life.  If  any  one  in  reply  told  her 
the  story  of  the  thief,  she  was  to  lay  hold  of  him 
and  not  allow  him  to  get  away.  The  daughter 
did  as  her  father  willed,  whereon  the  thief, 
who  was  well  aware  of  the  king's  motive,  felt 
a  desire  to  outdo  him  in  craft  and  cunning.  Ac- 
cordingly he  contrived  the  following  plan: — 
He  procured  the  corpse  of  a  man  lately  dead, 
and  cutting  off  one  of  the  arms  at  the  shoulder, 
put  it  under  his  dress,  and  so  went  to  the  king's 
daughter.  When  she  put  the  question  to  him  as 
she  had  done  to  all  the  rest,  he  replied  that  the 
wickedest  thing  he  had  ever  done  was  cutting 
off  the  head  of  his  brother  when  he  was  caught 
in  a  trap  in  the  king's  treasury,  and  the  clever- 
est was  making  the  guards  drunk  and  carrying 
off  the  body.  As  he  spoke,  the  princess  caught 
at  him,  but  the  thief  took  advantage  of  the 
darkness  to  hold  out  to  her  the  hand  of  the 
corpse.  Imagining  it  to  be  his  own  hand,  she 
seized  and  held  it  fast;  while  the  thief,  leaving 
it  in  her  grasp,  made  his  escape  by  the  door. 

(6.)  The  king,  when  word  was  brought 
him  of  this  fresh  success,  amazed  at  the  sa- 
gacity and  boldness  of  the  man,  sent  messen- 
gers to  all  the  towns  in  his  dominions  to  pro- 
claim a  free  pardon  for  the  thief,  and  to  prom- 
ise him  a  rich  reward,  if  he  came  and  made 
himself  known.  The  thief  took  the  king  at  his 
word,  and  came  boldly  into  his  presence; 
whereupon  Rhampsinitus,  greatly  admiring 
him,  and  looking  on  him  as  the  most  knowing 
of  men,  gave  him  his  daughter  in  marriage. 
"The  Egyptians,"  he  said,  "excelled  all  the  rest 
of  the  world  in  wisdom,  and  this  man  excelled 
all  other  Egyptians." 

1  This  is  a  curious  mistake  for  any  one  to  make 
who  had  been  in  Egypt,  since  the  soldiers  had  no 
beards,  and  it  was  the  custom  of  all  classes  to 
shave.  Herodotus  could  not  have  learnt  this  story 
from  the  Egyptians,  and  it  is  evidently  from  a 
Greek  source. 


I2I-I25] 


THE  HISTORY 


75 


122.  The  same  king,  I  was  also  informed  by 
the  priests,  afterwards  descended  alive  into  the 
region  which  the  Greeks  call  Hades,  and  there 
played  at  dice  with  Ceres,  sometimes  winning 
and  sometimes  suffering  defeat.  After  a  while 
he  returned  to  earth,  and  brought  with  him  a 
golden  napkin,  a  gift  which  he  had  received 
from  the  goddess.  From  this  descent  of  Rham- 
psinitus  into  Hades,  and  return  to  earth  again, 
the  Egyptians,  I  was  told,  instituted  a  festival, 
which  they  certainly  celebrated  in  my  day.  On 
what  occasion  it  was  that  they  instituted  it, 
whether  upon  this  or  upon  any  other,  I  cannot 
determine.  The  following  are  the  ceremonies: 
— On  a  certain  day  in  the  year  the  priests 
weave  a  mantle,  and  binding  the  eyes  of  one  of 
their  number  with  a  fillet,  they  put  the  mantle 
upon  him,  and  take  him  with  them  into  the 
roadway  conducting  to  the  temple  of  Ceres, 
when  they  depart  and  leave  him  to  himself. 
Then  the  priest,  thus  blindfolded,  is  led  (they 
say)  by  two  wolves  to  the  temple  of  Ceres,  dis- 
tant twenty  furlongs  from  the  city,  where  he 
stays  awhile,  after  which  he  is  brought  back 
from  the  temple  by  the  wolves,  and  left  upon 
the  spot  where  they  first  joined  him. 

123.  Such  as  think  the  tales  told  by  the  Egyp- 
tians credible  are  free  to  accept  them  for  his- 
tory. For  my  own  part,  I  propose  to  myself 
throughout  my  whole  work  faithfully  to  record 
the  traditions  of  the  several  nations.  The  Egyp- 
tians maintain  that  Ceres  and  Bacchus  preside 
in  the  realms  below.  They  were  also  the  first 
to  broach  the  opinion  that  the  soul  of  man  is 
immortal,  and  that,  when  the  body  dies,  it  en- 
ters into  the  form  of  an  animal  which  is  born 
at  the  moment,  thence  passing  on  from  one  an- 
imal into  another,  until  it  has  circled  through 
the  forms  of  all  the  creatures  which  tenant  the 
earth,  the  water,  and  the  air,  after  which  it  en- 
ters again  into  a  human  frame,  and  is  born 
anew.  The  whole  period  of  the  transmigration 
is  (they  say)  three  thousand  years.  There  are 
Greek  writers,  some  of  an  earlier,  some  of  a 
later  date,  who  have  borrowed  this  doctrine 
from  the  Egyptians,  and  put  it  forward  as  their 
own.  I  could  mention  their  names,  but  I  ab- 
stain from  doing  so. 

124.  Till  the  death  of  Rhampsinitus,  the 
priests  said,  Egypt  was  excellently  governed, 
and  flourished  greatly;  but  after  him  Cheops 
succeeded  to  the  throne,  and  plunged  into  all 
manner  of  wickedness.  He  closed  the  temples, 
and  forbade  the  Egyptians  to  offer  sacrifice, 
compelling  them  instead  to  labour,  one  and  all, 
in  his  service.  Some  were  required  to  drag 


blocks  of  stone  down  to  the  Nile  from  the 
quarries  in  the  Arabian  range  of  hills;  others 
received  the  blocks  after  they  had  been  con- 
veyed in  boats  across  the  river,  and  drew  them 
to  the  range  of  hills  called  the  Libyan.  A  hun- 
dred thousand  men  laboured  constantly,  and 
were  relieved  every  three  months  by  a  fresh 
lot.  It  took  ten  years'  oppression  of  the  people 
to  make  the  causeway  for  the  conveyance  of  the 
stones,  a  work  not  much  inferior,  in  my  judg- 
ment, to  the  pyramid  itself.  This  causeway  is 
five  furlongs  in  length,  ten  fathoms  wide,  and 
in  height,  at  the  highest  part,  eight  fathoms.  It 
is  built  of  polished  stone,  and  is  covered  with 
carvings  of  animals.  To  make  it  took  ten  years, 
as  I  said — or  rather  to  make  the  causeway,  the 
works  on  the  mound  where  the  pyramid 
stands,  and  the  underground  chambers,  which 
Cheops  intended  as  vaults  for  his  own  use: 
these  last  were  built  on  a  sort  of  island,  sur- 
rounded by  water  introduced  from  the  Nile  by 
a  canal.  The  pyramid  itself  was  twenty  years 
in  building.  It  is  a  square,  eight  hundred  feet 
each  way,  and  the  height  the  same,  built  en- 
tirely of  polished  stone,  fitted  together  with  the 
utmost  care.  The  stones  of  which  it  is  com- 
posed are  none  of  them  less  than  thirty  feet  in 
length. 

125.  The  pyramid  was  built  in  steps,  battle- 
ment-wise, as  it  is  called,  or,  according  to  oth- 
ers, altar-wise.  After  laying  the  stones  for  the 
base,  they  raised  the  remaining  stones  to  their 
places  by  means  of  machines  formed  of  short 
wooden  planks.  The  first  machine  raised  them 
from  the  ground  to  the  top  of  the  first  step.  On 
this  there  was  another  machine,  which  received 
the  stone  upon  its  arrival,  and  conveyed  it  to 
the  second  step,  whence  a  third  machine  ad- 
vanced it  still  higher.  Either  they  had  as  many 
machines  as  there  were  steps  in  the  pyramid, 
or  possibly  they  had  but  a  single  machine, 
which,  being  easily  moved,  was  transferred 
from  tier  to  tier  as  the  stone  rose — both  ac- 
counts are  given,  and  therefore  I  mention  both. 
The  upper  portion  of  the  pyramid  was  finished 
first,  then  the  middle,  and  finally  the  part 
which  was  lowest  and  nearest  the  ground. 
There  is  an  inscription  in  Egyptian  characters 
on  the  pyramid  which  records  the  quantity  of 
radishes,  onions,  and  garlic  consumed  by  the 
labourers  who  constructed  it;  and  I  perfectly 
well  remember  that  the  interpreter  who  read 
the  writing  to  me  i  said  that  the  money  ex- 
pended in  this  wdy  was  1600  talents  of  silver. 
If  this  then  is  a  true  record,  what  a  vast  sum 
must  have  been  spent  on  the  iron  tools  used  in 


76 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK  ii 


the  work,  and  on  the  feeding  and  clothing  of 
the  labourers,  considering  the  length  of  time 
the  work  lasted,  which  has  already  been  stated, 
and  the  additional  time — no  small  space,  I  im- 
agine— which  must  have  been  occupied  by  the 
quarrying  of  the  stones,  their  conveyance,  and 
the  formation  of  the  underground  apartments. 

126.  The  wickedness  of  Cheops  reached  to 
such  a  pitch  that,  when  he  had  spent  all  his 
treasures  and  wanted  more,  he  sent  his  daugh- 
ter to  the  stews,  with  orders  to  procure  him  a 
certain  sum — how  much  I  cannot  say,  for  I  was 
not  told;  she  procured  it,  however,  and  at  the 
same  time,  bent  on  leaving  a  monument  which 
should  perpetuate  her  own  memory,  she  re- 
quired each  man  to  make  her  a  present  of  a 
stone  towards  the  works  which  she  contem- 
plated. With  these  stones  she  built  the  pyramid 
which  stands  midmost  of  the  three  that  are  in 
front  of  the  great  pyramid,  measuring  along 
each  side  a  hundred  and  fifty  feet. 

127.  Cheops  reigned,  the  Egyptians  said,  fif- 
ty years,  and  was  succeeded  at  his  demise  by 
Chephren,  his  brother. 

Chephren  imitated  the  conduct  of  his  prede- 
cessor, and,  like  him,  built  a  pyramid,  which 
did  not,  however,  equal  the  dimensions  of  his 
brother's.  Of  this  I  am  certain,  for  I  measured 
them  both  myself.  It  has  no  subterraneous 
apartments,  nor  any  canal  from  the  Nile  to  sup- 
ply it  with  water,  as  the  other  pyramid  has.  In 
that,  the  Nile  water,  introduced  through  an 
artificial  duct,  surrounds  an  island,  where  the 
body  of  Cheops  is  said  to  he.  Chephren  built 
his  pyramid  close  to  the  great  pyramid  of  Che- 
ops, and  of  the  same  dimensions,  except  that  he 
lowered  the  height  forty  feet.  For  the  basement 
he  employed  the  many-coloured  stone  of  Ethi- 
opia. These  two  pyramids  stand  both  on  the 
same  hill,  an  elevation  not  far  short  of  a  hun- 
dred feet  in  height.  The  reign  of  Chephren 
lasted  fifty-six  years. 

128.  Thus  the  affliction  of  Egypt  endured 
for  the  space  of  one  hundred  and  six  years,  dur- 
ing the  whole  of  which  time  the  temples  were 
shut  up  and  never  opened.  The  Egyptians  so 
detest  the  memory  of  these  kings  that  they  do 
not  much  like  even  to  mention  their  names. 
Hence  they  commonly  call  the  pyramids  after 
Philition,  a  shepherd  who  at  that  time  fed  his 
flocks  about  the  place. 

129.  After  Chephren,  Myortinus  (they  said), 
son   of  Cheops,  ascended  3 the  throne.   This 
prince  disapproved  the  conduct  of  his  father, 
re-opened  the  temples,  and  allowed  the  people, 
who  were  ground  down  to  the  lowest  point  o£ 


misery,  to  return  to  their  occupations,  and  to 
resume  the  practice  of  sacrifice.  His  justice  in 
the  decision  of  causes  was  beyond  that  of  all 
the  former  kings.  The  Egyptians  praise  him 
in  this  respect  more  highly  than  any  of  their 
other  monarchs,  declaring  that  he  not  only 
gave  his  judgments  with  fairness,  but  also, 
when  any  one  was  dissatisfied  with  his  sen- 
tence, made  compensation  to  him  out  of  his 
own  purse,  and  thus  pacified  his  anger.  Mycer- 
inus  had  established  his  character  for  mildness, 
and  was  acting  as  I  have  described,  when  the 
stroke  of  calamity  fell  on  him.  First  of  all  his 
daughter  died,  the  only  child  that  he  pos- 
sessed. Experiencing  a  bitter  grief  at  this  visi- 
tation, in  his  sorrow  he  conceived  the  wish  to 
entomb  his  child  in  some  unusual  way.  He 
therefore  caused  a  cow  to  be  made  of  wood, 
and  after  the  interior  had  been  hollowed  out, 
he  had  the  whole  surface  coated  with  gold; 
and  in  this  novel  tomb  laid  the  dead  body  of 
his  daughter. 

130.  The  cow  was  not  placed  under  ground, 
but  continued  visible  to  my  times:  it  was  at 
Sai's,  in  the  royal  palace,  where  it  occupied  a 
chamber  richly  adorned.  Every  day  there  are 
burnt  before  it  aromatics  of  every  kind;  and 
all  night  long  a  lamp  is  kept  burning  in  the 
apartment.  In  an  adjoining  chamber  are  stat- 
ues which  the  priests  at  Sais  declared  to  repre- 
sent  the   various   concubines    of    Mycerinus. 
They  are  colossal  figures  in  wood,  of  the  num- 
ber of  about  twenty,  and  are  represented  na- 
ked. Whose  images  they  really  are,  I  cannot  say 
— I  can  only  repeat  the  account  which  was 
given  to  me. 

131.  Concerning  these  colossal  figures  and 
the  sacred  cow,  there  is  also  another  tale  nar- 
rated, which  runs  thus:  "Mycerinus  was  en- 
amoured of  his  daughter,  and  offered  her  vio- 
lence— the  damsel  for  grief  hanged  herself,  and 
Mycerinus  entombed  her  in  the  cow.  Then  her 
mother  cut  off  the  hands  of  all  her  tiring-maids, 
because  they  had  sided  with  the  father,  and 
betrayed  the  child;  and  so  the  statues  of  the 
maids  have  no  hands."  All  this  is  mere  fable  in 
my  judgment,  especially  what  is  said  about  the 
hands  of  the  colossal  statues.  I  could  plainly 
see  that  the  figures  had  only  lost  their  hands 
through  the  effect  of  time.  They  had  dropped 
off,  and  were  still  lying  on  the  ground  about 
the  feet  of  the  statues. 

132.  As  for  the  cow,  the  greater  portion  of  it 
is  hidden  by  a  scarlet  coverture;  the  head  and 
neck,  however,  which  are  visible,  are  coated 
very  thickly  with  gold,  and  between  the  horns 


126-136] 


THE  HISTORY 


77 


there  is  a  representation  in  gold  of  the  orb  of 
the  sun.  The  figure  is  not  erect,  but  lying 
down,  with  the  limbs  under  the  body;  the  di- 
mensions being  fully  those  of  a  large  animal  of 
the  kind.  Every  year  it  is  taken  from  the  apart- 
ment where  it  is  kept,  and  exposed  to  the  light 
of  day — this  is  done  at  the  season  when  the 
Egyptians  beat  themselves  in  honour  of  one  of 
their  gods,  whose  name  I  am  unwilling  to 
mention  in  connection  with  such  a  matter.1 
They  say  that  the  daughter  of  Mycerinus  re- 
quested her  father  in  her  dying  moments  to  al- 
low her  once  a  year  to  see  the  sun. 

133.  After  the  death  of  his  daughter,  My- 
cerinus was  visited  with  a  second  calamity,  of 
which  I  shall  now  proceed  to  give  an  account. 
An  oracle  reached  him  from  the  town  of  Buto, 
which  said,  "Six  years  only  shalt  thou  live  upon 
the  earth,  and  in  the  seventh  thou  shalt  end  thy 
days."  Mycerinus,  indignant,  sent  an  angry 
message  to  the  oracle,  reproaching  the  god 
with  his  injustice — uMy  father  and  uncle,"  he 
said,  "though  they  shut  up  the  temples,  took 
no  thought  of  the  gods,  and  destroyed  multi- 
tudes of  men,  nevertheless  enjoyed  a  long  life; 
I,  who  am  pious,  am  to  die  so  soon!"  There 
came  in  reply  a  second  message  from  the  ora- 
cle— "For  this  very  reason  is  thy  life  brought 
so  quickly  to  a  close — thou  hast  not  done  as  it 
behoved  thee.  Egypt  was  fated  to  suffer  afflic- 
tion one  hundred  and  fifty  years — the  two 
kings  who  preceded  thee  upon  the  throne  un- 
derstood this — thou  hast  not  understood  it." 
Mycerinus,  when  this  answer  reached  him,  per- 
ceiving that  his  doom  was  fixed,  had  lamps  pre- 
pared, which  he  lighted  every  day  at  eventime, 
and  feasted  and  enjoyed  himself  unceasingly 
both  day  and   night,  moving  about  in  the 
marsh-country  and  the  woods,  and  visiting  all 
the  places  that  he  heard  were  agreeable  so- 
journs. His  wish  was  to  prove  the  oracle  false, 
by  turning  the  nights  into  days,  and  so  living 
twelve  years  in  the  space  of  six. 

134.  He  too  left  a  pyramid,  but  much  in- 
ferior in  size  to  his  father's.  It  is  a  square,  each 
side  of  which  falls  short  of  three  plethra  by 
twenty  feet,  and  is  built  for  half  its  height  of 
the  stone  of  Ethiopia.  Some  of  the  Greeks  call 
it  the  work  of  Rhodopis  the  courtesan,  but  they 
report  falsely.  It  seems  to  me  that  these  persons 
cannot  have  any  real  knowledge  who  Rhodopis 
was;  otherwise  they  would  scarcely  have  as- 
cribed to  her  a  work  on  which  uncounted  treas- 
ures, so  to  speak,  must  have  been  expended. 
Rhodopis  also  lived  during  the  reign  of  Ama- 

1  Osiris. 


sis,  not  of  Mycerinus,  and  was  thus  very  many 
years  later  than  the  time  of  the  kings  who  built 
the  pyramids.  She  was  a  Thracian  by  birth,  and 
was  the  slave  of  ladmon,  son  of  Hephaestopolis, 
a  Samian.  ^Esop,  the  fable-writer,  was  one  of 
her  fellow-slaves.  That  /Esop  belonged  to  lad- 
mon is  proved  by  many  facts — among  others, 
by  this.  When  the  Delphians,  in  obedience  to 
the  command  of  the  oracle,  made  proclamation 
that  if  any  one  claimed  compensation  for  the 
murder  of  ^Esop  he  should  receive  it,  the  per- 
son who  at  last  came  forward  was  ladmon, 
grandson  of  the  former  ladmon,  and  he  re- 
ceived the  compensation.  JEsop  therefore  must 
certainly  have  been  the  former  ladmon's  slave. 

135.  Rhodopis  really  arrived  in  Egypt  under 
the  conduct  of  Xantheus  the  Samian;  she  was 
brought  there  to  exercise  her  trade,  but  was  re- 
deemed for  a  vast  sum  by  Charaxus,  a  Mytile- 
naean,  the  son  of  Scamandronymus,  and  broth- 
er of  Sappho  the  poetess.  After  thus  obtaining 
her  freedom,  she  remained  in  Egypt,  and,  as 
she  was  very  beautiful,  amassed  great  wealth, 
for  a  person  in  her  condition;  not,  however, 
enough  to  enable  her  to  erect  such  a  work  as 
this  pyramid.  Any  one  who  likes  may  go  and 
see  to  what  the  tenth  part  of  her   wealth 
amounted,  and  he  will  thereby  learn  that  her 
riches  must  not  be  imagined  to  have  been  very 
wonderfully  great.  Wishing  to  leave  a  memori- 
al of  herself  in  Greece,  she  determined  to  have 
something  made  the  like  of  which  was  not  to 
be  found  in  any  temple,  and  to  offer  it  at  the 
shrine  at  Delphi.  So  she  set  apart  a  tenth  of 
her  possessions,  and  purchased  with  the  money 
a  quantity  of  iron  spits,  such  as  are  fit  for  roast- 
ing oxen  whole,  whereof  she  made  a  present  to 
the  oracle.  They  are  still  to  be  seen  there,  lying 
of  a  heap,  behind  the  altar  which  the  Chians 
dedicated,  opposite  the  sanctuary.  Naucratis 
seems  somehow  to  be  the  place  where  such 
women  are  most  attractive.  First  there  was  this 
Rhodopis  of  whom  we  have  been  speaking,  so 
celebrated  a  person  that  her  name  came  to  be 
familiar  to  all  the  Greeks;  and,  afterwards, 
there  was  another,  called  Archidice',  notorious 
throughout    Greece,    though    not    so    much 
talked  of  as  her  predecessor.  Charaxus,  after 
ransoming  Rhodopis,  returned  to  Mytilene, 
and  was  often  lashed  by  Sappho  in  her  poetry. 
But  enough  has  been  said  on  the  subject  of  this 
courtesan. 

136.  After  Mycerinus,  the  priests  said,  Asy- 
chis  ascended  the  throne.  He  built  the  eastern 
gateway  of  the  temple  of  Vulcan,  which  in 
size  and  beauty  far  surpasses  the  other  three. 


78 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK  n 


All  the  four  gateways  have  figures  graven  on 
them,  and  a  vast  amount  of  architectural  orna- 
ment, but  the  gateway  of  Asychis  is  by  far  the 
most  richly  adorned.  In  the  reign  of  this  king, 
money  being  scarce  and  commercial  dealings 
straitened,  a  law  was  passed  that  the  borrow- 
er might  pledge  his  father's  body  to  raise  the 
sum  whereof  he  had  need.  A  proviso  was  ap- 
pended to  this  law,  giving  the  lender  authority 
over  the  entire  sepulchre  of  the  borrower,  so 
that  a  man  who  took  up  money  under  this 
pledge,  if  he  died  without  paying  the  debt, 
could  not  obtain  burial  either  in  his  own  an- 
cestral tomb,  or  in  any  other,  nor  could  he  dur- 
ing his  lifetime  bury  in  his  own  tomb  any 
member  of  his  family.  The  same  king,  desirous 
of  eclipsing  all  his  predecessors  upon  the 
throne,  left  as  a  monument  of  his  reign  a  pyra- 
mid of  brick.  It  bears  an  inscription,  cut  in 
stone,  which  runs  thus: — "Despise  me  not  in 
comparison  with  the  stone  pyramids;  for  I  sur- 
pass them  all,  as  much  as  Jove  surpasses  the 
other  gods.  A  pole  was  plunged  into  a  lake, 
and  the  mud  which  clave  thereto  was  gath- 
ered; and  bricks  were  made  of  the  mud,  and 
so  I  was  formed."  Such  were  the  chief  actions 
of  this  prince. 

137.  He  was  succeeded  on  the  throne,  they 
said,  by  a  blind  man,  a  native  of  Anysis,  whose 
own  name  also  was  Anysis.  Under  him  Egypt 
was  invaded  by  a  vast  army  of  Ethiopians,  led 
by  Sabacos,  their  king.  The  blind  Anysis  fled 
away  to  the  marsh-country,  and  the  Ethiopian 
was  lord  of  the  land  for  fifty  years,  during 
which  his  mode  of  rule  was  the  following: — 
When  an  Egyptian  was  guilty  of  an  oHence,  his 
plan  was  not  to  punish  him  with  death:  in- 
stead of  so  doing,  he  sentenced  him,  according 
to  the  nature  of  his  crime,  to  raise  the  ground 
to  a  greater  or  a  less  extent  in  the  neighbour- 
hood of  the  city  to  which  he  belonged.  Thus 
the  cities  came  to  be  even  more  elevated  than 
they  were  before.  As  early  as  the  time  of  Sesos- 
tris,  they  had  been  raised  by  those  who  dug  the 
canals  in  his  reign;  this  second  elevation  of 
the  soil  under  the  Ethiopian  king  gave  them  a 
very  lofty  position.  Among  the  many  cities 
which  thus  attained  to  a  great  elevation,  none 
(I  think)  was  raised  so  much  as  the  town 
called  Bubastis,  where  there  is  a  temple  of  the 
goddess  Bubastis,  which  well  deserves  to  be  de- 
scribed. Other  temples  may  be  grander,  and 
may  have  cost  more  in  the  building,  but  there 
is  none  so  pleasant  to  the  eye  as  this  of  Bubastis. 
The  Bubastis  of  the  Egyptians  is  the  same  as 
the  Artemis  (Diana)  of  the  Greeks. 


138.  The  following  is  a  description  of  this 
edifice: — Excepting  the  entrance,  the  whole 
forms  an  island.  Two  artificial  channels  from 
the  Nile,  one  on  either  side  of  the  temple,  en- 
compass the  building,  leaving  only  a  narrow 
passage  by  which  it  is  approached.  These  chan- 
nels are  each  a  hundred  feet  wide,  and  are 
thickly  shaded  with  trees.  The  gateway  is  sixty 
feet  in  height,  and  is  ornamented  with  figures 
cut  upon  the  stone,  six  cubits  high  and  well 
worthy  of  notice.  The  temple  stands  in  the 
middle  of  the  city,  and  is  visible  on  all  sides  as 
one  walks  round  it;  for  as  the  city  has  been 
raised  up  by  embankment,  while  the  temple 
has  been  left  untouched  in  its  original  condi- 
tion, you  look  down  upon  it  wheresoever  you 
are.  A  low  wall  runs  round  the  enclosure,  hav- 
ing figures  engraved  upon  it,  and  inside  there 
is  a  grove  of  beautiful  tall  trees  growing  round 
the  shrine,  which  contains  the  image  of  the 
goddess.  The  enclosure  is  a  furlong  in  length, 
and  the  same  in  breadth.  The  entrance  to  it  is 
by  a  road  paved  with  stone  for  a  distance  of 
about  three   furlongs,  which   passes   straight 
through  the  market-place  with  an  easterly  di- 
rection, and  is  about  four  hundred  feet   in 
width.  Trees  of  an  extraordinary  height  grow 
on  each  side  the  road,  which  conducts  from  the 
temple  of  Bubastis  to  that  of  Mercury. 

139.  The  Ethiopian  finally  quitted  Egypt, 
the  priests  said,  by  a  hasty  flight  under  the  fol- 
lowing circumstances.  He  saw  in  his  sleep  a 
vision: — a  man  stood  by  his  side,  and  coun- 
selled him  to  gather  together  all  the  priests  of 
Egypt  and  cut  every  one  of  them  asunder.  On 
this,  according  to  the  account  which  he  himself 
gave,  it  came  into  his  mind  that  the  gods  in- 
tended hereby  to  lead  him  to  commit  an  act  of 
sacrilege,  which  would  be  sure  to  draw  down 
upon  him  some  punishment  either  at  the  hands 
of  gods  or  men.  So  he  resolved  not  to  do  the 
deed  suggested  to  him,  but  rather  to  retire  from 
Egypt,  as  the  time  during  which  it  was  fated 
that  he  should  hold  the  country  had  now  (he 
thought)  expired.  For  before  he  left  Ethiopia 
he  had  been  told  by  the  oracles  which  are  ven- 
erated there,  that  he  was  to  reign  fifty  years 
over  Egypt.  The  years  were  now  fled,  and  the 
dream  had  come  to  trouble  him;  he  therefore 
of  his  own  accord  withdrew  from  the  land. 

140.  As  soon  as  Sabacos  was  gone,  the  blind 
king  left  the  marshes,  and  resumed  the  gov- 
ernment. He  had  lived  in  the  marsh-region  the 
whole  time,  having  formed  for  himself  an  is- 
land there  by  a  mixture  of  earth  and  ashes. 
While  he  remained,  the  natives  had  orders  to 


THE  HISTORY 


79 


bring  him  food  unbeknown  to  the  Ethiopian, 
and  latterly,  at  his  request,  each  man  had 
brought  him,  with  the  food,  a  certain  quantity 
of  ashes.  Before  Amyrtacus,  no  one  was  able  to 
discover  the  site  of  this  island,  which  con- 
tinued unknown  to  the  kings  of  Egypt  who 
preceded  him  on  the  throne  for  the  space  of 
seven  hundred  years  and  more.  The  name 
which  it  bears  is  Elbo.  It  is  about  ten  furlongs 
across  in  each  direction. 

141.  The  next  king,  I  was  told,  was  a  priest 
of  Vulcan,  called  Sethos.  This  monarch  de- 
spised and  neglected  the  warrior  class  of  the 
Egyptians,  as  though  he  did  not  need  their 
services.  Among  other  indignities  which  he 
offered  them,  he  took  from  them  the  lands 
which  they  had  possessed  under  all  the  prev- 
ious kings,  consisting  of  twelve  acres  of  choice 
land  for  each  warrior.  Afterwards,  therefore, 
when  Sanacharib,  king  of  the  Arabians1  and 
Assyrians,  marched  his  vast  army  into  Egypt, 
the  warriors  one  and  all  refused  to  come  to  his 
aid.  On  this  the  monarch,  greatly  distressed, 
entered  into  the  inner  sanctuary,  and,  before 
the  image  of  the  god,  bewailed  the  fate  which 
impended  over  him.  As  he  wept  he  fell  asleep, 
and  dreamed  that  the  god  came  and  stood  at 
his  side,  bidding  him  be  of  good  cheer,  and  go 
boldly  forth  to  meet  the  Arabian  host,  which 
would  do  him  no  hurt,  as  he  himself  would 
send  those  who  should  help  him.  Sethos,  then, 
relying  on  the  dream,  collected  such  of  the 
Egyptians  as  were  willing  to  follow  him,  who 
were  none  of  them  warriors,  but  traders,  ar- 
tisans, and  market  people;  and  with  these 
marched  to  Pelusium,  which  commands  the 
entrance  into  Egypt,  and  there  pitched  his 
camp.  As  the  two  armies  lay  here  opposite  one 
another,  there  came  in  the  night,  a  multitude 
of  field-mice,  which  devoured  all  the  quivers 
and  bowstrings  of  the  enemy,  and  ate  the 
thongs  by  which  they  managed  their  shields. 
Next  morning  they  commenced  their  fight, 
and  great  multitudes  fell,  as  they  had  no  arms 

1  It  is  curious  to  find  Sennacherib  called  the 
"king  of  the  Arabians  and  Assyrians0 — an  order 
of  words  which  seems  even  to  regard  him  as 
rather  an  Arabian  than  an  Assyrian  king.  In  the 
same  spirit  his  army  is  termed  afterwards  "the 
Arabian  host."  It  is  impossible  altogether  to  de- 
fend the  view  which  Herodotus  here  discloses, 
but  we  may  understand  how  such  a  mistake  was 
possible,  if  we  remember  how  Arabians  were 
mixed  up  with  other  races  in  Lower  Mesopotamia 
and  what  an  extensive  influence  a  great  Assyrian 
king  would  exercise  over  the  tribes  of  the  desert, 
especially  those  bordering  on  Mesopotamia. 


with  which  to  defend  themselves.  There  stands 
to  this  day  in  the  temple  of  Vulcan,  a  stone 
statue  of  Seth6s,  with  a  mouse  in  his  hand,  and 
an  inscription  to  this  effect — "Look  on  me,  and 
learn  to  reverence  the  gods.*' 

142.  Thus  far  I  have  spoken  on  the  authority 
of  the  Egyptians  and  their  priests.  They  de- 
clare that  from  their  first  king  to  this  last- 
mentioned  monarch,  the  priest  of  Vulcan,  was 
a  period  of  three  hundred  and  forty-one  genera- 
tions; such,  at  least,  they  say,  was  the  number 
both  of  their  kings,  and  of  their  high-priests, 
during  this  interval.  Now  three  hundred  gen- 
erations of  men  make  ten  thousand  years,  three 
generations  filling  up  the  century;  and  the  re- 
maining forty-one  generations  make  thirteen 
hundred  and  forty  years.  Thus  the  whole  num- 
ber of  years  is  eleven  thousand,  three  hundred 
and  forty;  ini which  entire  space,  they  said,  no 
god  had  ever  appeared  in  a  human  form;  noth- 
ing of  this  kind  had  happened  either  under  the 
former  or  under  the  later  Egyptian  kings.  The 
sun,  however,  had  within  this  period  of  time, 
on  four  several   occasions,  moved   from  his 
wonted  course,  twice  rising  where  he  now  sets, 
and  twice  setting  where  he  now  rises.  Egypt 
was  in  no  degree  affected  by  these  changes;  the 
productions  of  the  land,  and  of  the  river,  re- 
mained the  same;  nor  was  there  anything  un- 
usual cither  in  the  diseases  or  the  deaths. 

143.  When  Hecatacus  the  historian  was  at 
Thebes,  and,   discoursing  of   his   genealogy, 
traced  his  descent  to  a  god  in  the  person  of  his 
sixteenth  ancestor,  the  priests  of  Jupiter  did  to 
him  exactly   as  they  afterwards  did   to   me, 
though  I  made  no  boast  of  my  family.  They  led 
me  into  the  inner  sanctuary,  which  is  a  spacious 
chamber,  and  showed  me  a  multitude  of  co- 
lossal statues^  in  wood,  which  they  counted  up, 
and  found  to  amount  to  the  exact  number  they 
had  said;  the  custom  being  for  every  high- 
priest  during  his  lifetime  to  set  up  his  statue  in 
the  temple.  As  they  showed  me  the  figures  and 
reckoned  them  up,  they  assured  me  that  each 
was  the  son  of  the  one  preceding  him;  and  this 
they  repeated  throughout  the  whole  line,  be- 
ginning with  the  representation  of  the  priest 
last  deceased,  and  continuing  till  they  had  com- 
pleted the  series.  When  Hecataeus,  in  giving  his 
genealogy,  mentioned  a  god  as  his  sixteenth 
ancestor,  the  priests  opposed  their  genealogy 
to  his,  going  through  this  list,  and  refusing  to 
allow  that  any  man  was  ever  born  of  a  god. 
Their  colossal  figures  were  each,  they  said,  a 
Piromis,  born  of  a  Pir6mis,  and  the  number  of 
them  was  three  hundred  and  forty-five;  through 


80 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK  n 


the  whole  series  Pir6mis  followed  Pir6mis,  and 
the  line  did  not  run  up  either  to  a  god  or  a 
hero.  The  word  Pirdmis  may  be  rendered  "gen- 
tleman/* 

144.  Of  such  a  nature  were,  they  said,  the 
beings  represented  by  these  images — they  were 
very  far  indeed  from  being  gods.  However,  in 
the  times  anterior  to  them  it  was  otherwise; 
then  Egypt  had  gods  for  its  rulers,  who  dwelt 
upon  the  earth  with  men,  one  being  always 
supreme  above  the  rest.  The  last  of  these  was 
Horus,  the  son  of  Osiris,  called  by  the  Greeks 
Apollo.  He  deposed  Typhon,  and  ruled  over 
Egypt  as  its  last  god-king.  Osiris  is  named  Di- 
onysus (Bacchus)  by  the  Greeks. 

145.  The  Greeks  regard  Hercules,  Bacchus, 
and  Pan  as  the  youngest  of  the  gods.  With  the 
Egyptians,  contrariwise,  Pan   is  exceedingly 
ancient,  and  belongs  to  those  whom  they  call 
"the  eight  gods,"  who  existed  before  the  rest. 
Hercules  is  one  of  the  gods  of  the  second  order, 
who  are  known  as  "the  twelve";  and  Bacchus 
belongs  to  the  gods  of  the  third  order,  whom 
the  twelve  produced.  I  have  already  mentioned 
how  many  years  intervened  according  to  the 
Egyptians  between  the  birth  of  Hercules  and 
the  reign  of  Amasis.  From  Pan  to  this  period 
they  count  a  still  longer  time;  and  even  from 
Bacchus,  who  is  the  youngest  of  the  three,  they 
reckon  fifteen  thousand  years  to  the  reign  of 
that  king.  In  these  matters  they  say  they  can- 
not be  mistaken,  as  they  have  always  kept 
count  of  the  years,  and  noted  them  in  their  reg- 
isters. But  from  the  present  day  to  the  time  of 
Bacchus,  the  reputed  son  of  Semele,  daughter 
of  Cadmus,  is  a  period  of  not  more  than  six- 
teen hundred  years;  to  that  of  Hercules,  son  of 
Alcmena,  is  about  nine  hundred;  while  to  the 
time  of  Pan,  son  of  Penelope*  (Pan,  according 
to  the  Greeks,  was  her  child  by  Mercury),  is 
a  shorter  space  than  to  the  Trojan  war,  eight 
hundred  years  or  thereabouts, 

146.  It  is  open  to  all  to  receive  whichever  he 
may  prefer  of  these  two  traditions;  my  own 
opinion  about  them  has  been  already  declared. 
If  indeed  these  gods  had  been  publicly  known, 
and  had  grown  old  in  Greece,  as  was  the  case 
with  Hercules,  son  of  Amphitryon,  Bacchus, 
son  of  Semete,  and  Pan,  son  of  Penelop£,  it 
might  have  been  said  that  the  last-mentioned 
personages  were  men  who  bore  the  names  of 
certain  previously  existing  deities.  But  Bac- 
chus, according  to  the  Greek  tradition,  was  no 
sooner  born  than  he  was  sewn  up  in  Jupiter's 
thigh,  and  carried  off  to  Nysa,  above  Egypt,  in 
Ethiopia;  and  as  to  Pan,  they  do  not  even  pro- 


fess to  know  what  happened  to  him  after  his 
birth.  To  me,  therefore,  it  is  quite  manifest 
that  the  names  of  these  gods  became  known  to 
the  Greeks  after  those  of  their  other  deities, 
and  that  they  count  their  birth  from  the  time 
when  they  first  acquired  a  knowledge  of  them. 
Thus  far  my  narrative  rests  on  the  accounts 
given  by  the  Egyptians. 

147.  In  what  follows  I  have  the  authority, 
not  of  the  Egyptians  only,  but  of  others  also 
who  agree  with  them.  I  shall  speak  likewise  in 
part  from  my  own  observation.   When   the 
Egyptians  regained  their  liberty  after  the  reign 
of  the  priest  of  Vulcan,  unable  to  continue  any 
while  without  a  king,  they  divided  Egypt  into 
twelve  districts,   and   set  twelve  kings  over 
them.  These  twelve  kings,  united  together  by 
intermarriages,  ruled  Egypt  in  peace,  having 
entered  into  engagements  with  one  another 
not  to  depose  any  of  their  number,  nor  to  aim 
at  any  aggrandisement  of  one  above  the  rest, 
but  to  dwell  together  in  perfect  amity.  Now  the 
reason  why  they  made  these  stipulations,  and 
guarded  with  care  against  their  infraction,  was 
because  at  the  very  first  establishment  of  the 
twelve  kingdoms  an  oracle  had  declared — 
"That  he  among  them  who  should  pour  in 
Vulcan's   temple   a   libation   from  a   cup  of 
bronze  would  become  monarch  of  the  whole 
land  of  Egypt."  Now  the  twelve  held  their 
meetings  at  all  the  temples. 

148.  To  bind  themselves  yet  more  closely  to- 
gether, it  seemed  good  to  them  to  leave  a  com- 
mon monument.  In  pursuance  of  this  resolu- 
tion they  made  the  Labyrinth  which  lies  a  little 
above  Lake  Moeris,  in  the  neighbourhood  of 
the  place  called  the  city  of  Crocodiles.  I  visited 
this  place,  and  found  it  to  surpass  description; 
for  if  all  the  walls  and  other  great  works  of  the 
Greeks  could  be  put  together  in  one,  they 
would  not  equal,  either  for  labour  or  expense, 
this  Labyrinth;  and  yet  the  temple  of  Ephesus 
is  a  building  worthy  of  note,  and  so  is  the  tem- 
ple of  Samos.  The  pyramids  likewise  surpass 
description,  and  are  severally  equal  to  a  num- 
ber of  the  greatest  works  of  the  Greeks,  but  the 
Labyrinth  surpasses  the  pyramids.  It  has  twelve 
courts,  all  of  them  roofed,  with  gates  exactly 
opposite  one  another,  six  looking  to  the  north, 
and  six  to  the  south.  A  single  wall  surrounds 
the  entire  building.  There  are  two  different 
sorts   of   chambers   throughout — half   under 
ground,  half  above  ground,  the  latter  built 
upon  the  former;  the  whole  number  of  these 
chambers  is  three  thousand,  fifteen  hundred  of 
each  kind.  The  upper  chambers  I  myself  passed 


144-15*1 


THE  HISTORY 


81 


through  and  saw,  and  what  I  say  concerning 
them  is  from  my  own  observation;  of  the  un- 
derground chambers  I  can  only  speak  from  re- 
port: for  the  keepers  of  the  building  could  not 
be  got  to  show  them,  since  they  contained  (as 
they  said)  the  sepulchres  of  the  kings  who  built 
the  Labyrinth,  and  also  those  of  the  sacred 
crocodiles.  Thus  it  is  from  hearsay  only  that  I 
can  speak  of  the  lower  chambers.  The  upper 
chambers,  however,  I  saw  with  my  own  eyes, 
and  found  them  to  excel  all  other  human  pro- 
ductions; for  the  passages  through  the  houses, 
and  the  varied  windings  of  the  paths  across  the 
courts  excited  in  me  infinite  admiration  as  I 
passed  from  the  courts  into  chambers,  and  from 
the  chambers  into  colonnades,  and  from  the 
colonnades  into  fresh  houses,  and  again  from 
these  into  courts  unseen  before.  The  roof  was 
throughout  of  stone,  like  the  walls;  and  the 
walls  were  carved  all  over  with  figures;  every 
court  was  surrounded  with  a  colonnade  which 
was  built  of  white  stones  exquisitely  fitted  to- 
gether. At  the  corner  of  the  Labyrinth  stands 
a  pyramid,  forty  fathoms  high,  with  large  fig- 
ures engraved  on  it,  which  is  entered  by  a 
subterranean  passage. 

149.  Wonderful   as  is  the  Labyrinth,  the 
work  called  the  Lake  of  Mceris,  which  is  close 
by  the  Labyrinth,  is  yet  more  astonishing.  The 
measure  of  its  circumference  is  sixty  schoenes, 
or  three  thousand  six  hundred  furlongs,  which 
is  equal  to  the  entire  length  of  Egypt  along  the 
sea-coast.  The  lake  stretches  in  its  longest  direc- 
tion from  north  to  south,  and  in  its  deepest 
parts  is  of  the  depth  of  fifty  fathoms.  It  is  man- 
ifestly an  artificial  excavation,  for  nearly  in  the 
centre  there  stand  two  pyramids,  rising  to  the 
height  of  fifty  fathoms  above  the  surface  of  the 
water,  and  extending  as  far  beneath,  crowned 
each  of  them  with  a  colossal  statue  sitting  upon 
a  throne.  Thus  these  pyramids  are  one  hun- 
dred fathoms  high,  which  is  exactly  a  furlong 
(stadium)  of  six  hundred  feet:  the  fathom  be- 
ing six  feet  in  length,  or  four  cubits,  which  is 
the  same  thing,  since  a  cubit  measures  six,  and 
a  foot  four,  palms.  The  water  of  the  lake  does 
not  come  out  of  the  ground,  which  is  here  ex- 
cessively dry,  but  is  introduced  by  a  canal  from 
the  Nile.  The  current  sets  for  six  months  into 
the  lake  from  the  river,  and  for  the  next  six 
months  into  the  river  from  the  lake.  While  it 
runs  outward  it  returns  a  talent  of  silver  daily 
to  the  royal  treasury  from  the  fish  that  are 
taken,  but  when  the  current  is  the  other  way 
the  return  sinks  to  one-third  of  that  sum. 

150.  The  natives  told  me  that  there  was  a 


subterranean  passage  from  this  lake  to  the  Lib- 
yan Syrtis,  running  westward  into  the  interior 
by  the  hills  above  Memphis.  As  I  could  not 
anywhere  see  the  earth  which  had  been  taken 
out  when  the  excavation  was  made,  and  I  was 
curious  to  know  what  had  become  of  it,  I  asked 
the  Egyptians  who  live  closest  to  the  lake 
where  the  earth  had  been  put.  The  answer  that 
they  gave  me  I  readily  accepted  as  true,  since  I 
had  heard  of  the  same  thing  being  done  at 
Nineveh  of  the  Assyrians.  There,  once  upon  a 
time,  certain  thieves,  having  formed  a  plan  to 
get  into  their  possession  the  vast  treasures  of 
Sardanapalus,  the  Ninevite  king,  which  were 
laid  up  in  subterranean  treasuries,  proceeded 
to  tunnel  a  passage  from  the  house  where  they 
lived  into  the  royal  palace,  calculating  the  dis- 
tance and  the  direction.  At  nightfall  they  took 
the  earth  from  the  excavation  and  carried  it  to 
the  river  Tigris,  which  ran  by  Nineveh,  con- 
tinuing to  get  rid  of  it  in  this  manner  until  they 
had  accomplished  their  purpose.  It  was  exactly 
in  the  same  way  that  the  Egyptians  disposed  of 
the  mould  from  their  excavation,  except  that 
they  did  it  by  day  and  not  by  night;  for  as  fast 
as  the  earth  was  dug,  they  carried  it  to  the 
Nile,  which  they  knew  would  disperse  it  far 
and  wide.  Such  was  the  account  which  I  re- 
ceived of  the  formation  of  this  lake. 

151.  The  twelve  kings  for  some  time  dealt 
honourably  by  one  another,  but  at  length  it 
happened  that  on  a  certain  occasion,  when  they 
had  met  to  worship  in  the  temple  of  Vulcan, 
the  high-priest  on  the  last  day  of  the  festival, 
in  bringing  forth  the  golden  goblets  from 
which  they  were  wont  to  pour  the  libations, 
mistook  the  number  and  brought  eleven  gob- 
lets only  for  the  twelve  princes.  Psammetichus 
was  standing  last,  and,  being  left  without  a 
cup,  he  took  his  helmet,  which  was  of  bronze, 
from  of?  his  head,  stretched  it  out  to  receive  the 
liquor,  and  so  made  his  libation.  All  the  kings 
were  accustomed  to  wear  helmets,  and  all  in- 
deed wore  them  at  this  very  time.  Nor  was 
there  any  crafty  design  in  the  action  of  Psam- 
metichus. The  eleven,  however,  when  they 
came  to  consider  what  had  been  done,  and  be- 
thought them  of  the  oracle  which  had  declared 
"that  he  who,  of  the  twelve,  should  pour  a 
libation  from  a  cup  of  bronze,  the  same  would 
be  king  of  the  whole  land  of  Egypt,"  doubted 
at  first  if  they  should  not  put  Psammetichus  to 
death.  Finding,  however,  upon  examination, 
that  he  had  acted  in  the  matter  without  any 
guilty  intent,  they  did  not  think  it  would  be 
just  to  kill  him;  but  determined,  instead,  to 


82 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK  H 


strip  him  of  the  chief  part  of  his  power  and  to 
banish  him  to  the  marshes,  forbidding  him  to 
leave  them  or  to  hold  any  communication  with 
the  rest  of  Egypt. 

152.  This  was  the  second  time  that  Psam- 
metichus  had  been  driven  into  banishment.  On 
a  former  occasion  he  had  fled  from  Sabacos 
the  Ethiopian,  who  had  put  his  father  Necos 
to  death;  and  had  taken  refuge  in  Syria  from 
whence,  after  the  retirement  of  the  Ethiop  in 
consequence  of  his  dream,  he  was  brought 
back  by  the  Egyptians  of  the  Sai'tic  canton. 
Now  it  was  his  ill-fortune  to  be  banished  a  sec- 
ond time  by  the  eleven  kings,  on  account  of  the 
libation  which  he  had  poured  from  his  helmet; 
on  this  occasion  he  fled  to  the  marshes.  Feeling 
that  he  was  an  injured  man,  and  designing  to 
avenge  himself  upon  his  persecutors,  Psam- 
metichus  sent  to  the  city  of  Buto,  where  there 
is  an  oracle  of  Latona,  the  most  veracious  of  all 
the  oracles  of  the  Egyptians,  and  having  in- 
quired concerning  means  of  vengeance,  re- 
ceived  for  answer  that  "Vengeance   would 
come  from  the  sea,  when  brazen  men  should 
appear."  Great  was  his  incredulity  when  this 
answer  arrived,  for  never,  he  thought,  would 
brazen  men  arrive  to  be  his  helpers.  However, 
not  long  afterwards  certain  Carians  and  loni- 
ans,  who  had  left  their  country  on  a  voyage  of 
plunder,  were  carried  by  stress  of  weather  to 
Egypt  where  they  disembarked,  all  equipped 
in  their  brazen  armour,  and  were  seen  by  the 
natives,  one  of  whom  carried  the  tidings  to 
Psammetichus,  and,  as  he  had  never  before 
seen  men  clad  in  brass,  he  reported  that  brazen 
men  had  come  from  the  sea  and  were  plunder- 
ing the  plain.  Psammetichus,  perceiving  at 
once  that  the  oracle  was  accomplished,  made 
friendly  advances  to  the  strangers,  and  engaged 
them,  by  splendid  promises,  to  enter  into  his 
service.  He  then,  with  their  aid  and  that  of  the 
Egyptians  who  espoused  his  cause,  attacked  the 
eleven  and  vanquished  them. 

153.  When  Psammetichus  had  thus  become 
sole  monarch  of  Egypt,  he  built  the  southern 
gateway  of  the  temple  of  Vulcan  in  Memphis, 
and  also  a  court  for  Apis,  in  which  Apis  is  kept 
whenever  he  makes  his  appearance  in  Egypt. 
This  court  is  opposite  the  gateway  of  Psam- 
metichus, and  is  surrounded  with  a  colonnade 
and  adorned  with  a  multitude  of  figures.  In- 
stead of  pillars,  the  colonnade  rests  upon  co- 
lossal statues,  twelve  cubits  in  height.  The 
Greek  name  for  Apis  is  Epaphus. 

154.  To  the  lonians  and  Carians  who  had 
lent  him  their  assistance  Psammetichus  as- 


signed as  abodes  two  places  opposite  to  each 
other,  one  on  either  side  of  the  Nile,  which  re- 
ceived the  name  of  "the  Camps."  He  also  made 
good  all  the  splendid  promises  by  which  he  had 
gained  their  support;  and  further,  he  intrusted 
to  their  care  certain  Egyptian  children  whom 
they  were  to  teach  the  language  of  the  Greeks. 
These  children,  thus  instructed,  became  the 
parents  of  the  entire  class  of  interpreters  in 
Egypt.  The  lonians  and  Carians  occupied  for 
many  years  the  places  assigned  them  by  Psam- 
metichus, which  lay  near  the  sea,  a  little  below 
the  city  of  Bubastis,  on  the  Pelusiac  mouth  of 
the  Nile.  King  Amasis  long  afterwards  re- 
moved the  Greeks  hence,  and  settled  them  at 
Memphis  to  guard  him  against  the  native 
Egyptians.  From  the  date  of  the  original  set- 
tlement of  these  persons  in  Egypt,  we  Greeks, 
through  our  intercourse  with  them,  have  ac- 
quired an  accurate  knowledge  of  the  several 
events  in  Egyptian  history,  from  the  reign  of 
Psammetichus  downwards;  but  before  his  time 
no  foreigners  had  ever  taken  up  their  residence 
in  that  land.  The  docks  where  their  vessels 
were  laid  up  and  the  ruins  of  their  habita- 
tions were  still  to  be  seen  in  my  day  at  the 
place  where  they  dwelt  originally,  before  they 
were  removed  by  Amasis.  Such  was  the  mode 
by  which  Psammetichus  became  master  of 
Egypt. 

155. 1  have  already  made  mention  more  than 
once  of  the  Egyptian  oracle,  and,  as  it  well  de- 
serves notice,  I  shall  now  proceed  to  give  an 
account  of  it  more  at  length.  It  is  a  temple  of 
Latona,  situated  in  the  midst  of  a  great  city  on 
the  Sebennytic  mouth  of  the  Nile,  at  some  dis- 
tance up  the  river  from  the  sea.  The  name  of 
the  city,  as  I  have  before  observed,  is  Buto;  and 
in  it  are  two  other  temples  also,  one  of  Apollo 
and  one  of  Diana.  Latona's  temple,  which  con- 
tains the  oracle,  is  a  spacious  building  with  a 
gateway  ten  fathoms  in  height.  The  most  won- 
derful thing  that  was  actually  to  be  seen  about 
this  temple  was  a  chapel  in  the  enclosure  made 
of  a  single  stone,  the  length  and  height  of 
which  were  the  same,  each  wall  being  forty 
cubits  square,  and  the  whole  a  single  block! 
Another  block  of  stone  formed  the  roof  and 
projected  at  the  eaves  to  the  extent  of  four  cu- 
bits. 

156.  This,  as  I  have  said,  was  what  aston- 
ished me  the  most,  of  all  the  things  that  were 
actually  to  be  seen  about  the  temple.  The  next 
greatest  marvel  was  the  island  called  Chem- 
mis.  This  island  lies  in  the  middle  of  a  broad 
and  deep  lake  close  by  the  temple,  and  the 


152-160] 


THE  HISTORY 


83 


natives  declare  that  it  floats.  For  my  own  part 
I  did  not  see  it  float,  or  even  move;  and  I  won- 
dered greatly,  when  they  told  me  concerning 
it,  whether  there  be  really  such  a  thing  as  a 
floating  island.  It  has  a  grand  temple  of  Apollo 
built  upon  it,  in  which  are  three  distinct  altars. 
Palm  trees  grow  on  it  in  great  abundance,  and 
many  other  trees,  some  of  which  bear  fruit, 
while  others  are  barren.  The  Egyptians  tell  the 
following  story  in  connection  with  this  island, 
to  explain  the  way  in  which  it  first  came  to 
float: — "In  former  times,  when  the  isle  was 
still  fixed  and  motionless,  Latona,  one  of  the 
eight  gods  of  the  first  order,  who  dwelt  in  the 
city  of  Buto,  where  now  she  has  her  oracle,  re- 
ceived Apollo  as  a  sacred  charge  from  Isis,  and 
saved  him  by  hiding  him  in  what  is  now  called 
the  floating  island.  Typhon  meanwhile  was 
searching  everywhere  in  hopes  of  finding  the 
child  of  Osiris."  (According  to  the  Egyptians, 
Apollo  and  Diana  are  the  children  of  Bacchus 
and  Isis,  while  Latona  is  their  nurse  and  their 
preserver.  They  call  Apollo,  in  their  language, 
Horus;  Ceres  they  call  Isis;  Diana,  Bubastis. 
From  this  Egyptian  tradition,  and  from  no 
other,  it  must  have  been  that  ^schylus,  the  son 
of  Euphorion,  took  the  idea,  which  is  found  in 
none  of  the  earlier  poets,  of  making  Diana  the 
daughter  of  Ceres.)  The  island,  therefore,  in 
consequence  of  this  event,  was  first  made  to 
float.  Such  at  least  is  the  account  which  the 
Egyptians  give. 

157.  Psammetichus  ruled  Egypt  for  fifty- 
four  years,  during  twenty-nine  of  which  he 
pressed  the  siege  of  Azotus  without  intermis- 
sion, till  finally  he  took  the  place.  Azotus  is  a 
great  town  in  Syria.  Of  all  the  cities  that  we 
know,  none  ever  stood  so  long  a  siege. 

158.  Psammetichus  left  a  son  called  Necos, 
who  succeeded  him   upon  the  throne.  This 
prince  was  the  first  to  attempt  the  construction 
of  the  canal  to  the  Red  Sea — a  work  completed 
afterwards  by  Darius  the  Persian — the  length 
of  which  is  four  days'  journey,  and  the  width 
such  as  to  admit  of  two  triremes  being  rowed 
along  it  abreast.  The  water  is  derived  from  the 
Nile,  which  the  canal  leaves  a  little  above  the 
city  of  Bubastis,  near  Patftmus,  the  Arabian 
town,  being  continued  thence  until  it  joins  the 
Red  Sea.  At  first  it  is  carried  along  the  Arabian 
side  of  the  Egyptian  plain,  as  far  as  the  chain 
of  hills  opposite  Memphis,  whereby  the  plain 
is  bounded,  and  in  which  lie  the  great  stone 
quarries;  here  it  skirts  the  base  of  the  hills  run- 
ning in  a  direction  from  west  to  east,  after 
which  it  turns  and  enters  a  narrow  pass,  trend- 


ing southwards  from  this  point  until  it  enters 
the  Arabian  Gulf.  From  the  northern  sea  to 
that  which  is  called  the  southern  or  Erythraean, 
the  shortest  and  quickest  passage,  which  is 
from  Mount  Casius,  the  boundary  between 
Egypt  and  Syria,  to  the  Gulf  of  Arabia,  is  a  dis- 
tance of  exactly  one  thousand  furlongs.  But  the 
way  by  the  canal  is  very  much  longer  on  ac- 
count of  the  crookedness  of  its  course.  A  hun- 
dred and  twenty  thousand  of  the  Egyptians, 
employed  upon  the  work  in  the  reign  of  Necos, 
lost  their  lives  in  making  the  excavation.  He  at 
length  desisted  from  his  undertaking,  in  con- 
sequence of  an  oracle  which  warned  him  "that 
he  was  labouring  for  the  barbarian."  The 
Egyptians  call  by  the  name  of  barbarians  all 
such  as  speak  a  language  different  from  their 
own. 

159.  Necos,  when  he  gave  up  the  construc- 
tion of  the  canal,  turned  all  his  thoughts  to  war, 
and  set  to  work  to  build  a  fleet  of  triremes, 
some  intended  for  service  in  the  northern  sea, 
and  some  for  the  navigation  of  the  Erythraean. 
These  last  were  built  in  the  Arabian  Gulf 
where  the  dry  docks  in  which  they  lay  are  still 
visible.  These  fleets  he  employed  wherever  he 
had  occasion,  while  he  also  made  war  by  land 
upon  the  Syrians  and  defeated  them   in  a 
pitched  battle  at  Magdolus,  after   which  he 
made  himself  master  of  Cadytis,  a  large  city  of 
Syria.  The  dress  which  he  wore  on  these  occa- 
sions he  sent  to  Branchidae  in  Milesia,  as  an 
offering  to  Apollo.  After  having  reigned  in 
all  sixteen  years,  Necos  died,  and  at  his  death 
bequeathed  the  throne  to  his  son  Psammis. 

1 60.  In  the  reign  of  Psammis,  ambassadors 
from  Elis  arrived  in  Egypt,  boasting  that  their 
arrangements  for  the  conduct  of  the  Olympic 
Games  were  the  best  and  fairest  that  could  be 
devised,  and  fancying  that  not  even  the  Egyp- 
tians, who  surpassed  all  other  nations  in  wis- 
dom, could  add  anything  to  their  perfection. 
When  these  persons  reached  Egypt,  and  ex- 
plained the  reason  of  their  visit,  the  king  sum- 
moned an  assembly  of  all  the  wisest  of  the 
Egyptians.  They  met,  and  the  Eleans  having 
given  them  a  full  account  of  all  their  rules  and 
regulations  with  respect  to  the  contests  said 
that  they  had  come  to  Egypt  for  the  express 
purpose  of  learning  whether  the  Egyptians 
could  improve  the  fairness  of  their  regulations 
in  any  particular.  The  Egyptians  considered 
awhile  and  then  made  inquiry,  "If  they  al- 
lowed their  own  citizens  to  enter  the  lists?" 
The  Eleans  answered,  "That  the  lists  were 
open  to  all  Greeks,  whether  they  belonged  to 


84 


HERODOTUS 


Elis  or  to  any  other  state."  Hereupon  the 
Egyptians  observed,  "That  if  this  were  so,  they 
departed  from  justice  very  widely,  since  it  was 
impossible  but  that  they  would  favour  their 
own  countrymen  and  deal  unfairly  by  for- 
eigners. If  therefore  they  really  wished  to  man- 
age the  games  with  fairness,  and  if  this  was  the 
object  of  their  coming  to  Egypt,  they  advised 
them  to  confine  the  contests  to  strangers,  and 
allow  no  native  of  Elis  to  be  a  candidate."  Such 
was  the  advice  which  the  Egyptians  gave  to  the 
Eleans. 

161.  Psammis  reigned  only  six  years.  He 
attacked  Ethiopia,  and  died  almost  directly 
afterwards.  Aprics,  his   son,  succeeded   him 
upon  the  throne,  who,  excepting  Psammeti- 
chus,  his  great-grandfather,  was  the  most  pros- 
perous of  all  the  kings  that  ever  ruled  over 
Egypt.  The  length  of  his  reign  was  twenty-five 
years,  and  in  the  course  of  it  he  marched  an 
army  to  attack  Sidon,  and  fought  a  battle  with 
the  king  of  Tyre  by  sea.  When  at  length  the 
time  came  that  was  fated  to  bring  him  woe,  an 
occasion  arose  which  I  shall  describe  more  fully 
in  my  Libyan  history,  only  touching  it  very 
briefly  here.  An  army  despatched  by  Apries  to 
attack  Cyrene,  having  met  with  a  terrible  re- 
verse, the  Egyptians  laid  the  blame  on  him, 
imagining  that  he  had,  of  malice  prepense, 
sent  the  troops  into  the  jaws  of  destruction. 
They  believed  he  had  wished  a  vast  number  of 
them  to  be  slain   in  order  that  he  himself 
might  reign  with  more  security  over  the  rest 
of  the  Egyptians.  Indignant  therefore  at  this 
usage,   the   soldiers    who   returned   and    the 
friends  of  the  slain  broke  instantly  into  revolt. 

162.  Apries,  on  learning  these  circumstances, 
sent  Amasis  to  the  rebels  to  appease  the  tumult 
by  persuasion.  Upon  his  arrival,  as  he  was  seek- 
ing to  restrain  the  malcontents  by  his  exhorta- 
tions, one  of  them,  coming  behind  him,  put  a 
helmet  on  his  head,  saying,  as  he  put  it  on,  that 
he  thereby  crowned  him  king.  Amasis  was  not 
altogether  displeased  at  the  action,  as  his  con- 
duct soon  made  manifest;  for  no  sooner  had  the 
insurgents  agreed  to  make  him  actually  their 
king  than  he  prepared  to  march  with  them 
against  Apries.  That  monarch,  on  tidings  of 
these  events  reaching  him,  sent  Patarbemis, 
one  of  his  courtiers,  a  man  of  high  rank,  to 
Amasis  with  orders  to  bring  him  alive  into 
his  presence.  Patarbemis,  on  arriving  at  the 
place  where  Amasis  was,  called  on  him  to  come 
back  with  him  to  the  king,  whereupon  Amasis 
broke  a  coarse  jest,  and  said,  "Prythee  take 
that  back  to  thy  master."  When  the  envoy,  not- 


[BOOK  ii 

withstanding  this  reply,  persisted  in  his  re- 
quest, exhorting  Amasis  to  obey  the  summons 
of  the  king,  he  made  answer  "that  this  was 
exactly  what  he  had  long  been  intending  to  do; 
Apries  would  have  no  reason  to  complain  of 
him  on  the  score  of  delay;  he  would  shortly 
come  himself  to  the  king,  and  bring  others 
with  him/*  Patarbemis,  upon  this,  compre- 
hending the  intention  of  Amasis,  partly  from 
his  replies  and  partly  from  the  preparations 
which  he  saw  in  progress,  departed  hastily, 
wishing  to  inform  the  king  with  all  speed  of 
what  was  going  on.  Apries,  however,  when  he 
saw  him  approaching  without  Amasis,  fell 
into  a  paroxysm  of  rage,  and  not  giving  him- 
self time  for  reflection,  commanded  the  nose 
and  ears  of  Patarbemis  to  be  cut  off.  Then  the 
rest  of  the  Egyptians,  who  had  hitherto  es- 
poused the  cause  of  Apries,  when  they  saw  a 
man  of  such  note  among  them  so  shamefully 
outraged,  without  a  moment's  hesitation  went 
over  to  the  rebels,  and  put  themselves  at  the 
disposal  of  Amasis. 

163.  Apries,  informed  of  this  new  calamity, 
armed  his  mercenaries,  and  led  them  against 
the  Egyptians:  this  was  a  body  of  Carians  and 
lonians,    numbering    thirty    thousand    men, 
which  was  now  with  him  at  Sai's,  where  his 
palace  stood — a  vast  building,  well  worthy  of 
notice.  The  army  of  Apries  marched  out  to 
attack  the  host  of  the  Egyptians,  while  that  of 
Amasis  went  forth  to  fight  the  strangers;  and 
now  both  armies  drew  near  the  city  of  Mo- 
memphis  and  prepared  for  the  coming  fight. 

164.  The  Egyptians  are  divided  into  seven 
distinct  classes — these  are,  the  priests,  the  war- 
riors, the  cowherds,  the  swineherds,  the  trades- 
men, the  interpreters,  and  the  boatmen.  Their 
titles  indicate  their  occupations.  The  warriors 
consist  of  Hermotybians  and  Calasirians,  who 
come  from  different  cantons,  the  whole  of 
Egypt  being  parcelled  out  into  districts  bearing 
this  name. 

165.  The    following   cantons    furnish    the 
Hermotybians: — The  cantons  of  Busiris,  Sai's, 
Chemmis,  Papremis,  that  of  the  island  called 
Prosopitis,  and  half  of  Natho.  They  number, 
when  most  numerous,  a  hundred  and  sixty 
thousand.  None  of  them  ever  practices  a  trade, 
but  all  are  given  wholly  to  war. 

1 66.  The  cantons  of  the  Calasirians  are  dif- 
ferent— they  include  the  following: — The  can- 
tons of  Thebes,  Bubastis,  Aphthis,  Tanis,  Men- 
des,  Sebennytus,  Athribis,  Pharbxthus,  Th- 
muis,  Onuphis,  Anysis,  and  Myecphoris — this 
last  canton  consists  of  an  island  which  lies  over 


161-172] 


THE  HISTORY 


85 


against  the  town  of  Bubastis.  The  Calasirians, 
when  at  their  greatest  number,  have  amount- 
ed to  two  hundred  and  fifty  thousand.  Like 
the  Hermotybians,  they  are  forbidden  to  pur- 
sue any  trade,  and  devote  themselves  entirely 
to  warlike  exercises,  the  son  following  the 
father's  calling. 

167.  Whether  the  Greeks  borrowed  from  the 
Egyptians  their  notions  about  trade,  like  so 
many  others,  I  cannot  say  for  certain.  I  have 
remarked  that  the  Thracians,  the  Scyths,  the 
Persians,  the  Lydians,  and  almost  all  other  bar- 
barians, hold  the  citizens  who  practice  trades, 
and  their  children,  in  less  repute  than  the  rest, 
while  they  esteem  as  •noble  those  who  keep 
aloof  from  handicrafts,  and  especially  honour 
such  as  are  given  wholly  to  war.  These  ideas 
prevail  throughout  the  whole  of  Greece,  par- 
ticularly among  the  Lacedaemonians.  Corinth 
is  the  place  where  mechanics  are  least  despised. 

1 68.  The  warrior  class  in  Egypt  had  certain 
special  privileges  in  which  none  of  the  rest  of 
the  Egyptians  participated,  except  the  priests. 
In  the  first  place  each  man  had  twelve  arura1 
of  land  assigned  him  free  from  tax.  (The  arura 
is  a  square  of  a  hundred  Egyptian  cubits,  the 
Egyptian  cubit  being  of  the  same  length  as  the 
Samian.)  All  the  warriors  enjoyed  this  priv- 
ilege together,  but  there  were  other  advantages 
which  came  to  each  in  rotation,  the  same  man 
never  obtaining  them  twice.  A  thousand  Cal- 
asirians,  and  the  same  number  of  Hermoty- 
bians, formed  in  alternate  years  the  body-guard 
of  the  king;  and  during  their  year  of  service 
these  persons,  besides  their  arurce,  received  a 
daily  portion  of  meat  and  drink,  consisting  of 
five  pounds  of  baked  bread,  two  pounds  of 
beef,  and  four  cups  of  wine. 

169.  When  Apries,  at  the  head  of  his  mer- 
cenaries, and  Amasis,  in   command  of  the 
whole  native  force  of  the  Egyptians,  encount- 
ered one  another  near  the  city  of  Momemphis, 
an  engagement  presently  took  place.  The  for- 
eign troops  fought  bravely,  but  were  over- 
powered by  numbers,  in  which  they  fell  very 
far  short  of  their  adversaries.  It  is  said  that  Ap- 
ries believed  that  there  was  not  a  god  who 
could  cast  him  down  from  his  eminence,  so 
firmly  did  he  think  that  he  had  established 
himself  in  his  kingdom.  But  at  this  time  the 
battle  went  against  him,  and  his  army  being 
worsted,  he  fell  into  the  enemy's  hands  and 
was  brought  back  a  prisoner  to  Sais,  where  he 
was  lodged  in  what  had  been  his  own  house, 

1  The  arura  was  a  little  more  than  three-fourths 
of  an  English  acre,  and  was  only  a  land  measure. 


but  was  now  the  palace  of  Amasis.  Amasis 
treated  him  with  kindness,  and  kept  him  in 
the  palace  for  a  while;  but  finding  his  conduct 
blamed  by  the  Egyptians,  who  charged  him 
with  acting  unjustly  in  preserving  a  man  who 
had  shown  himself  so  bitter  an  enemy  both  to 
them  and  him,  he  gave  Apries  over  into  the 
hands  of  his  former  subjects,  to  deal  with  as 
they  chose.  Then  the  Egyptians  took  him  and 
strangled  him,  but  having  so  done  they  buried 
him  in  the  sepulchre  of  his  fathers.  This  tomb 
is  in  the  temple  of  Minerva,  very  near  the  sanc- 
tuary, on  the  left  hand  as  one  enters.  The  Saites 
buried  all  the  kings  who  belonged  to  their  can- 
ton inside  this  temple;  and  thus  it  even  con- 
tains the  tomb  of  Amasis,  as  well  as  that  of  Ap- 
ries and  his  family.  The  latter  is  not  so  close  to 
the  sanctuary  as  the  former,  but  still  it  is  with- 
in the  temple.  It  stands  in  the  court,  and  is  a 
spacious  cloister  built  of  stone  and  adorned 
with  pillars  carved  so  as  to  resemble  palm  trees, 
and  with  other  sumptuous  ornaments.  Within 
the  cloister  is  a  chamber  with  folding  doors,  be- 
hind which  lies  the  sepulchre  of  the  king. 

170.  Here  too,  in  this  same  precinct  of  Mi- 
nerva at  Sai's,  is  the  burial-place  of  one  whom 
I  think  it  not  right  to  mention  in  such  a  con- 
nection.2 It  stands  behind  the  temple,  against 
the  backwall,  which  it  entirely  covers.  There 
are  also  some  large  stone  obelisks  in  the  en- 
closure, and  there  is  a  lake  near  them,  adorned 
with  an  edging  of  stone.  In  form  it  is  circular, 
and  in  size,  as  it  seemed  to  me,  about  equal  to 
the  lake  in  Delos  called  "the  Hoop." 

171.  On  this  lake  it  is  that  the  Egyptians  rep- 
resent by  night  his  sufferings  whose  name  I  re- 
frain from  mentioning,  and  this  representation 
they  call  their  Mysteries.  I  know  well  the  whole 
course  of  the  proceedings  in  these  ceremonies, 
but  they  shall  not  pass  my  lips.  So  too,  with  re- 
gard  to  the  mysteries  of  Ceres,  which  the 
Greeks  term  "the  Thcsmophoria,"  I  know 
them,  but  I  shall  not  mention  them,  except  so 
far  as  may  be  done   without  impiety.  The 
daughters  of  Danaus  brought  these  rites  from 
Egypt,  and  taught  them  to  the  Pelasgic  women 
of  the  Peloponnese.  Afterwards,  when  the  in- 
habitants of  the  peninsula  were  driven  from 
their  homes  by  the  Dorians,  the  rites  perished. 
Only  in  Arcadia,  where  the  natives  remained 
and  were  not  compelled  to  migrate,  their  ob- 
servance continued. 

172.  After  Apries  had  been  put  to  death  in 
the  way  that  I  have  described  above,  Amasis 
reigned  over  Egypt.  He  belonged  to  the  can- 

2  Osiris. 


86 


HERODOTUS 


[  BOOK  ii 


ton  of  Sai's,  being  a  native  of  the  town  called 
Siouph.  At  first  his  subjects  looked  down  on 
him  and  held  him  in  small  esteem,  because  he 
had  been  a  mere  private  person,  and  of  a  house 
of  no  great  distinction;  but  after  a  time  Amasis 
succeeded  in  reconciling  them  to  his  rule,  not 
by  severity,  but  by  cleverness.  Among  his  other 
splendour  he  had  a  golden  foot-pan,  in  which 
his  guests  and  himself  were  wont  upon  occa- 
sion to  wash  their  feet.  This  vessel  he  caused  to 
be  broken  in  pieces,  and  made  of  the  gold  an 
image  of  one  of  the  gods,  which  he  set  up  in 
the  most  public  place  in  the  whole  city;  upon 
which  the  Egyptians  flocked  to  the  image,  and 
worshipped  it  with  the  utmost  reverence.  Ama- 
sis, finding  this  was  so,  called  an  assembly,  and 
opened  the  matter  to  them,  explaining  how  the 
image  had  been  made  of  the  foot-pan,  wherein 
they  had  been  wont  formerly  to  wash  their  feet 
and  to  put  all  manner  of  filth,  yet  now  it  was 
greatly  reverenced.  "And  truly,"  he  went  on  to 
say,  "it  had  gone  with  him  as  with  the  foot- 
pan.  If  he  was  a  private  person  formerly,  yet 
now  he  had  come  to  be  their  king.  And  so  he 
bade  them  honour  and  reverence  him."  Such 
was  the  mode  in  which  he  won  over  the  Egyp- 
tians, and  brought  them  to  be  content  to  do 
him  service. 

173.  The  following  was  the  general  habit  of 
his  life: — from  early  dawn  to  the  time  when 
the  forum  is  wont  to  fill,  he  sedulously  trans- 
acted all  the  business  that  was  brought  before 
him;  during  the  remainder  of  the  day  he  drank 
and  joked  with  his  guests,  passing  the  time  in 
witty  and,  sometimes,  scarce  seemly  conversa- 
tion. It  grieved  his  friends  that  he  should  thus 
demean  himself,  and  accordingly  some  of  them 
chid  him  on  the  subject,  saying  to  him — "Oh! 
king,  thou  dost  but  ill  guard  thy  royal  dignity 
whilst  thou  allowest  thyself  in  such  levities. 
Thou  shouldest  sit  in  state  upon  a  stately 
throne,  and  busy  thyself  with  affairs  the  whole 
day  long.  So  would  the  Egyptians  feel  that  a 
great  man  rules  them,  and  thou  wouldst  be  bet- 
ter spoken  of.  But  now  thou  conductest  thy- 
self in  no  kingly  fashion."  Amasis  answered 
them  thus: — "Bowmen  bend  their  bows  when 
they  wish  to  shoot;  unbrace  them  when  the 
shoot'ng  is  over.  Were  they  kept  always  strung 
they  would  break,  and  fail  the  archer  in  time 
of  need.  So  it  is  with  men.  If  they  give  them- 
selves constantly  to  serious  work,  and  never  in- 
dulge awhile  in  pastime  or  sport,  they  lose  their 
senses,  and  become  mad  or  moody.  Know- 
ing this,  I  divide  my  life  between  pastime 
and  business."  Thus  he  answered  his  friends. 


174.  It  is  said  that  Amasis,  even  while  he 
was  a  private  man,  had  the  same  tastes  for 
drinking  and  jesting,  and  was  averse  to  engag- 
ing in  any  serious  employment.  He  lived  in 
constant  feasts  and  revelries,  and  whenever  his 
means  failed  him,  he  roamed  about  and  robbed 
people.  On  such  occasions  the  persons  from 
whom  he  had  stolen  would  bring  him,  if  he 
denied  the  charge,  before  the  nearest  oracle; 
sometimes  the  oracle  would  pronounce  him 
guilty  of  the  theft,  at  other  times  it  would  ac- 
quit him.  When  afterwards  he  came  to  be 
king,  he  neglected  the  temples  of  such  gods 
as  had  declared  that  he  was  not  a  thief,  and 
neither  contributed  to«their  adornment  nor 
frequented  them  for  sacrifice,  since  he  regard- 
ed them  as  utterly  worthless  and  their  oracles 
as  wholly  false:  but  the  gods  who  had  detected 
his  guilt  he  considered  to  be  true  gods  whose 
oracles  did  not  deceive,  and  these  he  honoured 
exceedingly. 

175.  First  of  all,  therefore,  he  built  the  gate- 
way of  the  temple  of  Minerva  at  Sais,  which  is 
an  astonishing  work,  far  surpassing  all  other 
buildings  of  the  same  kind  both  in  extent  and 
height,  and  built  with  stones  of  rare  size  and 
excellency.  In  the  next  place,  he  presented  to 
the  temple  a  number  of  large  colossal  statues 
and  several  prodigious  andro-sphinxes,  besides 
certain  stones  for  the  repairs,  of  a  most  extraor- 
dinary size.  Some  of  these  he  got  from  the 
quarries  over  against  Memphis,  but  the  largest 
were   brought    from   Elephantine,    which    is 
twenty  days'  voyage  from  Sai's.  Of  all  these 
wonderful  masses  that  which  I  most  admire  is 
a  chamber  made  of  a  single  stone,  which  was 
quarried  at  Elephantine.  It  took  three  years  to 
convey  this  block  from  the  quarry  to  Sai's;  and 
in  the  conveyance  were  employed  no  fewer 
than  two  thousand  labourers,  who  were  all 
from  the  class  of  boatmen.  The  length  of  this 
chamber  on  the  outside  is  twenty-one  cubits,  its 
breadth  fourteen  cubits,  and  its  height,  eight. 
The  measurements  inside  are  the  following: — 
the  length,  eighteen  cubits  and  five-sixths;  the 
breadth,  twelve  cubits;  and  the  height,  five.  It 
lies  near  the  entrance  of  the  temple,  where  it 
was  left  in  consequence  of  the  following  cir- 
cumstance:— it  happened  that  the  architect, 
just  as  the  stone  had  reached  the  spot  where  it 
now  stands,  heaved  a  sigh,  considering  the 
length  of  time  that  the  removal  had  taken,  and 
feeling  wearied  with  the  heavy  toil.  The  sigh 
was  heard  by  Amasis  who,  regarding  it  as  an 
omen,  would  not  allow  the  chamber  to  be 
moved  forward  any  farther.  Some,  however, 


THE  HISTORY 


87 


say  that  one  of  the  workmen  engaged  at  the 
levers  was  crushed  and  killed  by  the  mass,  and 
that  this  was  the  reason  of  its  being  left  where 
it  now  stands. 

176.  To  the  other  temples  of  much  note 
Amasis  also  made  magnificent  offerings — at 
Memphis,  for  instance,  he  gave  the  recumbent 
colossus  in  front  of  the  temple  of  Vulcan, 
which  is  seventy-five  feet  long.  Two  other  co- 
lossal statues  stand  on   the  same  base,  each 
twenty  feet  high,  carved  in  the  stone  of  Ethi- 
opia, one  on  either  side  of  the  temple.  There 
is  also  a  stone  colossus  of  the  same  size  at  Sai's, 
recumbent  like  that  at  Memphis.  Amasis  final- 
ly built  the  temple  of  Isis  at  Memphis,  a  vast 
structure,  well  worth  seeing. 

177.  It  is  said  that  the  reign  of  Amasis  was 
the  most  prosperous  time  that  Egypt  ever  saw, 
— the  river  was  more  liberal  to  the  land,  and 
the  land  brought  forth  more  abundantly  for 
the  service  of  man  than  had  ever  been  known 
before;  while  the  number  of  inhabited  cities 
was  not  less  than  twenty  thousand.  It  was  this 
king  Amasis  who  established  the  law  that 
every   Egyptian   should   appear  once  a   year 
before  the  governor  of  his  canton,  and  show 
his   means   of   living;    or,   failing  to  do   so, 
and  to  prove  that  he  got  an  honest  livelihood, 
should  be  put  to  death.  Solon  the  Athenian 
borrowed  this  law  from  the  Egyptians,  and 
imposed  it  on  his  countrymen,  who  have  ob- 
served it  ever  since.  It  is  indeed  an  excellent 
custom. 

178.  Amasis  was  partial  to  the  Greeks,  and 
among  other  favours  which  he  granted  them, 
gave  to  such  as  liked  to  settle  in  Egypt  the  city 
of  Naucratis  for  their  residence.  To  those  who 
only  wished  to  trade  upon  the  coast,  and  did 
not  want  to  fix  their  abode  in  the  country,  he 
granted  certain  lands  where  they  might  set  up 
altars  and  erect  temples  to  the  gods.  Of  these 
temples  the  grandest  and  most  famous,  which 
is  also  the  most  frequented,  is  that  called  "the 
Hellenium."  It  Was  built  conjointly  by  the  lo- 
nians,  Dorians,  and  yEolians,  the  following 
cities  taking  part  in  the  work: — the  Ionian 
states  of  Chios,  Teos,  Phocaea,  and  Clazomenae; 
Rhodes,  Cnidus,Halicarnassus,and  Phaselis  of 
the  Dorians;  and  Mytilene  of  the  ^Eolians. 
These  are  the  states  to  whom  the  temple  be- 
longs, and  they  have  the  right  of  appointing 
the  governors  of  the  factory;  the  other  cities 
which  claim  a  share  in  the  building,  claim 
what  in  no  sense  belongs  to  them.  Three  na- 
tions, however,  consecrated  for  themselves  sep- 
arate temples — the  Eginetans  one  to  Jupiter, 


the  Samians  to  Juno,  and  the  Milesians  to 
Apollo. 

179.  In  ancient  times  there  was  no  factory 
but  Naucratis  in  the  whole  of  Egypt;  and  if  a 
person  entered  one  of  the  other  mouths  of  the 
Nile,  he  was  obliged  to  swear  that  he  had  not 
come  there  of  his  own  free  will.  Having  so 
done,  he  was  bound  to  sail  in  his  ship  to  the 
Canobic  mouth,  or  were  that  impossible  ow- 
ing to  contrary  winds,  he  must  take  his  wares 
by  boat  all  round  the  Delta,  and  so  bring  them 
to  Naucratis,  which  had  an  exclusive  privilege. 

1 80.  It  happened  in  the  reign  of  Amasis  that 
the  temple  of  Delphi  had  been  accidentally 
burnt,  and  the  Amphictyons  had  contracted  to 
have  it  rebuilt  for  three  hundred  talents,  of 
which  sum  one-fourth  was  to  be  furnished  by 
the  Dclphians.  Under  these  circumstances  the 
Delphians  went  from  city  to  city  begging  con- 
tributions, and  among  their  other  wanderings 
came  to  Egypt  and  asked  for  help.  From  few 
other  places  did  they  obtain  so  much — Amasis 
gave  them  a  thousand  talents  of  alum,  and  the 
Greek  settlers  twenty  minae.1 

181.  A  league   was  concluded  by  Amasis 
with  the  Cyrcnaeans,  by  which  Gyrene*  and 
Egypt  became  close  friends  and  allies.  He  like- 
wise took  a  wife  from  that  city,  either  as  a  sign 
of  his  friendly  feeling,  or  because  he  had  a 
fancy  to  marry  a  Greek  woman.  However  this 
may  be,  certain  it  is  that  he  espoused  a  lady  of 
Gyrene,  by  name  Ladice*,  daughter,  some  say, 
of  Battus  or  Arcesilaiis,  the  king — others,  of 
Critobulus,  one  of  the  chief  citizens.  When  the 
time  came  to  complete  the  contract,  Amasis 
was  struck  with  weakness.  Astonished  hercat 
— for  he  was  not  wont  to  be  so  afflicted — the 
king  thus  addressed  his  bride:  " Woman,  thou 
hast  certainly  bewitched  me — now  therefore 
be  sure  thou  shalt  perish  more  miserably  than 
ever  woman  perished  yet/'  Ladice  protested 
her  innocence,  but  in  vain;  Amasis  was  not 
softened.  Hereupon  she  made  a  vow  internal- 
ly, that  if  he  recovered  within  the  day  (for  no 
longer  time  was  allowed  her),  she  would  pre- 
sent a  statue  to  the  temple  of  Venus  at  Gyrene. 
Immediately  she  obtained  her  wish,  and  the 
king's  weakness   disappeared.   Amasis  loved 
her  greatly  ever  after,  and  Ladice  performed 
her  vow.  The  statue  which  she  caused  to  be 
made,  and  sent  to  Gyrene,  continued  there  to 
my  day,  standing  with  its  face  looking  out- 
wards from  the  city.  Ladice  herself,  when  Cam- 

1  Twenty  minae  would  be  somewhat  more  than 
£80.  The  entire  sum  which  the  Delphians  had  to 
collect  exceeded  £18,000. 


HERODOTUS 


byses  conquered  Egypt,  suffered  no  wrong; 
for  Cambyses,  on  learning  of  her  who  she  was, 
sent  her  back  unharmed  to  her  country. 

182.  Besides  the  marks  of  favour  already 
mentioned,  Amasis  also  enriched  with  offer- 
ings many  of  the  Greek  temples.  He  sent  to 
Gyrene'  a  statue  of  Minerva  covered  with  plates 
of  gold,  and  a  painted  likeness  of  himself.  To 
the  Minerva  of  Lindus  he  gave  two  statues  in 
stone,  and  a  linen  corslet  well  worth  inspec- 
tion. To  the  Samian  Juno  he  presented  two 
statues  of  himself,  made  in  wood,  which  stood 


in  the  great  temple  to  my  day,  behind  the 
doors.  Samos  was  honoured  with  these  gifts  on 
account  of  the  bond  of  friendship  subsisting 
between  Amasis  and  Polycrates,  the  son  of 
^Eaces:  Lindus,  for  no  such  reason,  but  be- 
cause of  the  tradition  that  the  daughters  of 
Danaus  touched  there  in  their  flight  from  the 
sons  of  ^Egyptus,  and  built  the  temple  of 
Minerva.  Such  were  the  offerings  of  Amasis. 
He  likewise  took  Cyprus,  which  no  man  had 
ever  done  before,  and  compelled  it  to  pay  him 
a  tribute. 


The  Third  Book,  Entitled 
THALIA 


_XW     XVX    _VW  -XVX  -XV%  B\\\  «XW 

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«W^  «>V>  »^W  «^V^   »^^   «^W    fffm  tffm  fff*   tffm  tffm  tffm   Affm  tffm   fffn   tffm  tiff*   fffm   tffm  fffm  ***- 

i/t   f/t   fff   fff   r/f   /ft  VVV"  VVV  V\V  5fcV  Wr  V*"  V\V  VV"  WV  v\"  v*"  VVV"  <NV  VVV  VVV* 


i.  The  above-mentioned  Amasis  was  the  Egyp- 
tian king  against  whom  Cambyses,  son  of  Cy- 
rus, made  his  expedition;  and  with  him  went 
an  army  composed  of  the  many  nations  under 
his  rule,  among  them  being  included  both  Io- 
nic and  ^Eolic  Greeks.  The  reason  of  the  inva- 
sion was  the  following.  Cambyses,  by  the  ad- 
vice of  a  certain  Egyptian,  who  was  angry  with 
Amasis  for  having  torn  him  from  his  wife  and 
children  and  given  him  over  to  the  Persians, 
had  sent  a  herald  to  Amasis  to  ask  his  daughter 
in  marriage.  His  adviser  was  a  physician, 
whom  Amasis,  when  Cyrus  had  requested 
that  he  would  send  him  the  most  skilful  of  all 
the  Egyptian  eye-doctors,  singled  out  as  the 
best  from  the  whole  number.  Therefore  the 
Egyptian  bore  Amasis  a  grudge,  and  his  rea- 
son for  urging  Cambyses  to  ask  the  hand  of 
the  king's  daughter  was,  that  if  he  complied,  it 
might  cause  him  annoyance;  if  he  refused,  it 
might  make  Cambyses  his  enemy.  When  the 
message  came,  Amasis,  who  much  dreaded  the 
power  of  the  Persians,  was  greatly  perplexed 
whether  to  give  his  daughter  or  no;  for  that 
Cambyses  did  not  intend  to  make  her  his  wife, 
but  would  only  receive  her  as  his  concubine,  he 
knew  for  certain.  He  therefore  cast  the  matter 
in  his  mind,  and  finally  resolved  what  he 
would  do.  There  was  a  daughter  of  the  late 
king  Apries,  named  Nitetis,  a  tail  and  beautiful 
woman,  the  last  survivor  of  that  royal  house. 
Amasis  took  this  woman,  and  decking  her 
out  with  gold  and  costly  garments,  sent  her  to 
Persia  as  if  she  had  been  his  own  child.  Some 
time  afterwards,  Cambyses,  as  he  gave  her  an 
embrace,  happened  to  call  her  by  her  father's 
name,  whereupon  she  said  to  him,  "I  see,  O 
king,  thou  knowest  not  how  thou  has  been 
cheated  by  Amasis;  who  took  me,  and,  trick- 
ing me  out  with  gauds,  sent  me  to  thee  as  his 
own  daughter.  But  I  am  in  truth  the  child  of 
Apries,  who  was  his  lord  and  master,  until  he 


89 


rebelled  against  him,  together  with  the  rest  of 
the  Egyptians,  and  put  him  to  death."  It  was 
this  speech,  and  the  cause  of  quarrel  it  dis- 
closed, which  roused  the  anger  of  Cambyses, 
son  of  Cyrus,  and  brought  his  arms  upon 
Egypt.  Such  is  the  Persian  story. 

2.  The  Egyptians,  however,  claim  Cambyses 
as  belonging  to  them,  declaring  that  he  was  the 
son  of  this  Nitetis.  It  was  Cyrus,  they  say,  and 
not  Cambyses,  who  sent  to  Amasis  for  his 
daughter.  But  here  they  mis-state  the  truth. 
Acquainted  as  they  are  beyond  all  other  men 
with  the  laws  and  customs  of  the  Persians,  they 
cannot  but  be  well  aware,  first,  that  it  is  not 
the  Persian  wont  to  allow  a  bastard  to  reign 
when  there  is  a  legitimate  heir;  and  next,  that 
Cambyses  was  the   son  of  Cassandane,  the 
daughter  of  Pharnaspes,  an  Achaemenian,  and 
not  of  this  Egyptian.  But  the  fact  is  that  they 
pervert  history  in  order  to  claim  relationship 
with  the  house  of  Cyrus.  Such  is  the  truth  of 
this  matter. 

3.  I  have  also  heard  another  account,  which 
I  do  not  at  all  believe:  that  a  Persian  lady 
came  to  visit  the  wives  of  Cyrus,  and  seeing 
how  tall  and  beautiful  were  the  children  of 
Cassandane,  then  standing  by,  broke  out  into 
loud  praise  of  them,  and  admired  trjem  ex- 
ceedingly. But  Cassandan£,  wife  of  Cyrus,  an- 
swered, "Though  such  the  children  I   have 
borne  him,  yet  Cyrus  slights  me  and  gives  all 
his  regard  to  the   new-comer  from  Egypt." 
Thus  did  she  express  her  vexation  on  account 
of  Nitetis:  whereupon  Cambyses,  the  eldest  of 
her  boys,  exclaimed,  "Mother,  when  I  am  a 
man,  I  will  turn  Egypt  upside  down  for  you." 
He  was  but  ten  years  old,  as  the  tale  runs,  when 
he  said  this,  and  astonished  all  the  women,  yet 
he  never  forgot  it  afterwards;  and  on  this  ac- 
count, they  say,  when  he  came  to  be  a  man,  and 
mounted  the  throne,  he  made  his  expedition 
against  Egypt. 


90 


HERODOTUS 


4.  There  was  another  matter,  quite  distinct, 
which  helped  to  bring  about  the  expedition. 
One  of  the  mercenaries  of  Amasis,  a  Halicar- 
nassian,  Phanes  by  name,  a  man  of  good  judg- 
ment, and  a  brave  warrior,  dissatisfied   for 
some  reason  or  other  with  his  master,  deserted 
the  service,  and  taking  ship,  fled  to  Cambyses, 
wishing  to  get  speech  with  him.  As  he  was  a 
person  of  no  small  account  among  the  mercen- 
aries, and  one  who  could  give  very  exact  in- 
telligence about  Egypt,  Amasis,  anxious  to  re- 
cover him,  ordered  that  he  should  be  pursued. 
He  gave  the  matter  in  charge  to  one  of  the 
most  trusty  of  the  eunuchs,  who  went  in  quest 
of  the  Halicarnassian  in  a  vessel  of  war.  The 
eunuch  caught  him  in  Lycia,  but  did  not  con- 
trive to  bring  him  back  to  Egypt,  for  Phanes 
outwitted  him  by  making  his  guards  drunk, 
and  then  escaping  into  Persia.  Now  it  hap- 
pened that  Cambyses  was  meditating  his  at- 
tack on  Egypt,  and  doubting  how  he  might 
best  pass  the  desert,  when  Phanes  arrived,  and 
not  only  told  him  all  the  secrets  of  Amasis,  but 
advised  him  also  how  the  desert  might  be 
crossed.  He  counselled  him  to  send  an  ambas- 
sador to  the  king  of  the  Arabs,  and  ask  him 
for  safe-conduct  through  the  region. 

5.  Now  the  only  entrance  into  Egypt  is  by 
this  desert:  the  country  from  Phoenicia  to  the 
borders  of  the  city  Cadytis  belongs  to  the  peo- 
ple called  the  Palestine  Syrians;  from  Cadytis, 
which  it  appears  to  me  is  a  city  almost  as  large 
as  Sardis,  the  marts  upon  the  coast  till  you 
reach  Jenysus  are  the  Arabian  king's;  after 
Jenysus  the  Syrians  again  come  in,  and  extend 
to  Lake  Serbonis,  near  the  place  where  Mount 
Casius  juts  out  into  the  sea.  At  Lake  Serb6nis, 
where  the  tale  goes  that  Typhon  hid  himself, 
Egypt  begins.  Now  the  whole  tract  between 
Jenysus  on  the  one  side,  and  Lake  Serb6nis  and 
Mount  Casius  on  the  other,  and  this  is  no  small 
space,  being  as  much  as  three  days'  journey,  is 
a  dry  desert  without  a  drop  of  water. 

6.  I  shall  now  mention  a  thing  of  which  few 
of  those  who  sail  to  Egypt  are  aware.  Twice  a 
year  wine  is  brought  into  Egypt  from  every 
part  of  Greece,  as  well  as  from  Phoenicia,  in 
earthen  jars;  and  yet  in  the  whole  country  you 
will  nowhere  see,  as  I  may  say,  a  single  jar. 
What  then,  every  one  will  ask,  becomes  of  the 
jars?  This,  too,  I  will  clear  up.  The  burgomas- 
ter of  each  town  has  to  collect  the  wine-jars 
within  his  district,  and  to  carry  them  to  Mem- 
phis, where  they  are  all  filled  with  water  by 
the  Memphians,  who  then  convey  them  to  this 
desert  tract  of  Syria.  And  so  it  comes  to  pass 


[BooK  ill 

that  all  the  jars  which  enter  Egypt  year  by 
year,  and  are  there  put  up  to  sale,  find  their 
way  into  Syria,  whither  all  the  old  jars  have 
gone  before  them. 

7.  This  way  of  keeping  the  passage  into 
Egypt  fit  for  use  by  storing  water  there,  was 
begun  by  the  Persians  so  soon  as  they  became 
masters  of  that  country.  As,  however,  at  the 
time  of  which  we  speak  the  tract  had  not  yet 
been  so  supplied,  Cambyses  took  the  advice  of 
his  Halicarnassian  guest,  and  sent  messengers 
to  the  Arabian  to  beg  a  safe-conduct  through 
the  region.  The  Arabian  granted  his  prayer, 
and  each  pledged  faith  to  the  other. 

8.  The  Arabs  keep  such  pledges  more  re- 
ligiously than  almost  any  other  people.  They 
plight  faith  with  the  forms  following.  When 
two  men  would  swear  a  friendship,  they  stand 
on  each  side  of  a  third:  he  with  a  sharp  stone 
makes  a  cut  on  the  inside  of  the  hand  of  each 
near  the  middle  finger,  and,  taking  a  piece 
from  their  dress,  dips  it  in  the  blood  of  each, 
and  moistens  therewith  seven  stones  lying  in 
the  midst,  calling  the  while  on  Bacchus  and 
Urania.  After  this,  the  man  who  makes  the 
pledge  commends  the  stranger  (or  the  citizen, 
if  citizen  he  be)  to  all  his  friends,  and  they 
deem  themselves  bound  to  stand  to  the  engage- 
ment. They  have  but  these  two  gods,  to  wit, 
Bacchus  and  Urania;  and  they  say  that  in  their 
mode  of  cutting  the  hair,  they  follow  Bacchus. 
Now  their  practice  is  to  cut  it  in  a  ring,  away 
from  the  temples.  Bacchus  they  call  in  their 
language  Orotal,  and  Urania,  Alilat. 

9.  When,  therefore,  the  Arabian  had  pledged 
his  faith  to  the  messengers  of  Cambyses,  he 
straightway  contrived  as  follows: — he  filled  a 
number  of  camels'  skins  with  water,  and  load- 
ing therewith  all  the  live  camels  that  he  pos- 
sessed, drove  them  into  the  desert,  and  awaited 
the  coming  of  the  army.  This  is  the  more  like- 
ly of  the  two  tales  that  are  told.  The  other  is  an 
improbable  story,  but,  as  it  is  related,  I  think 
that  I  ought  not  to  pass  it  by.  There  is  a  great 
river  in  Arabia,  called  the  Corys,  which  emp- 
ties itself  into  the  Erythraean  sea.  The  Arabian 
king,  they  say,  made  a  pipe  of  the  skins  of 
oxen  and  other  beasts,  reaching  from  this  river 
all  the  way  to  the  desert,  and  so  brought  the 
water  to  certain  cisterns  which  he  had  had  dug 
in  the  desert  to  receive  it.  It  is  a  twelve  days' 
journey  from  the  river  to  this  desert  tract.  And 
the  water,  they  say,  was  brought  through  three 
different  pipes  to  three  separate  places. 

10.  Psammenitus,  son  of  Amasis,  lay  en- 
camped at  the  mouth  of  the  Nile,  called  the 


4-14  ] 


THE  HISTORY 


91 


Pelusiac,  awaiting  Cambyscs.  For  Cambyses, 
when  he  went  up  against  Egypt,  found  Amasis 
no  longer  in  life:  he  had  died  after  ruling 
Egypt  forty  and  four  years,  during  all  which 
time  no  great  misfortune  had  befallen  him. 
When  he  died,  his  body  was  embalmed,  and 
buried  in  the  tomb  which  he  had  himself 
caused  to  be  made  in  the  temple.  After  his  son 
Psammenitus  had  mounted  the  throne,  a 
strange  prodigy  occurred  in  Egypt — rain  fell 
at  Egyptian  Thebes,  a  thing  which  never  hap- 
pened before,  and  which,  to  the  present  time, 
has  never  happened  again,  as  the  Thebans 
themselves  testify.  In  Upper  Egypt  it  does  not 
usually  rain  at  all;  but  on  this  occasion,  rain 
fell  at  Thebes  in  small  drops. 

11.  The  Persians  crossed  the  desert,  and, 
pitching  their  camp  close  to  the  Egyptians, 
made  ready  for  battle.  Hereupon  the  merce- 
naries in  the  pay  of  Psammenitus,  who  were 
Greeks  and   Carians,   full   of  anger  against 
Phanes  for  having  brought  a  foreign  army 
upon  Egypt,  bethought  themselves  of  a  mode 
whereby  they  might   be   revenged   on  him. 
Phanes  had  left  sons  in  Egypt.  The  mercena- 
ries took  these,  and  leading  them  to  the  camp, 
displayed  them  before  the  eyes  of  their  father; 
after  which  they  brought  out  a  bowl,  and, 
placing  it  in  the  space  between  the  two  hosts, 
they  led  the  sons  of  Phanes,  one  by  one,  to  the 
vessel,  and  slew  them  over  it.  When  the  last 
was  dead,  water  and  wine  were  poured  into 
the  bowl,  and  all  the  soldiers  tasted  of  the 
blood,  and  so  they  went  to  the  battle.  Stubborn 
was  the  fight  which  followed,  and  it  was  not 
till  vast  numbers  had  been  slain  upon  both 
sides,  that  the  Egyptians  turned  and  fled. 

12.  On  the  field  where  this  battle  was  fought 
I  saw  a  very  wonderful  thing  which  the  natives 
pointed  out  to  me.  The  bones  of  the  slain  lie 
scattered  upon  the  field  in  two  lots,  those  of 
the  Persians  in  one  place  by  themselves,  as  the 
bodies  lay  at  the  first — those  of  the  Egyptians 
in  another  place  apart  from  them.  If,  then,  you 
strike  the  Persian  skulls,  even  with  a  pebble, 
they  are  so  weak,  that  you  break  a  hole  in 
them;  but  the  Egyptian  skulls  are  so  strong, 
that  you  may  smite  them  with  a  stone  and  you 
will  scarcely  break  them  in.  They  gave  me  the 
following  reason  for  this  difference,  which 
seemed  to  me  likely  enough: — The  Egyptians 
(they  said)  from  early  childhood  have  the 
head  shaved,  and  so  by  the  action  of  the  sun 
the  skull  becomes  thick  and  hard.  The  same 
cause  prevents  baldness  in  Egypt,  where  you 
see  fewer  bald  men  than  in  any  other  land. 


Such,  then,  is  the  reason  why  the  skulls  of  the 
Egyptians  are  so  strong.  The  Persians,  on  the 
other  hand,  have  feeble  skulls,  because  they 
keep  themselves  shaded  from  the  first,  wearing 
turbans  upon  their  heads.  What  I  have  here 
mentioned  I  saw  with  my  own  eyes,  and  I  ob- 
served also  the  like  at  Papremis,  in  the  case  of 
the  Persians  who  were  killed  with  Achaemenes, 
the  son  of  Darius,  by  Inarus  the  Libyan. 

13.  The  Egyptians  who  fought  in  the  battle, 
no  sooner  turned  their  backs  upon  the  enemy, 
than  they  fled  away  in  complete  disorder  to 
Memphis,  where  they  shut  themselves  up  with- 
in the  walls.  Hereupon  Cambyses  sent  a  My- 
tilenaean  vessel,  with  a  Persian  herald  on  board, 
who  was  to  sail  up  the  Nile  to  Memphis,  and 
invite  the  Egyptians  to  a   surrender.  They, 
however,  when  they  saw  the  vessel  entering 
the  town,  poured  forth  in  crowds  from  the 
castle,  destroyed  the  ship,  and,  tearing  the  crew 
limb  from  limb,  so  bore  them  into  the  fortress. 
After  this  Memphis  was  besieged,  and  in  due 
time  surrendered.  Hereon   the  Libyans  who 
bordered  upon  Egypt,  fearing  the  fate  of  that 
country,  gave  themselves  up  to  Cambyses  with- 
out a  battle,  made  an  agreement  to  pay  tribute 
to  him,  and  forthwith  sent  him  gifts.  The  Cy- 
renacans  too,  and  the  Barcaeans,  having  the 
same  fear  as  the  Libyans,  immediately  did  the 
like.  Cambyses  received  the  Libyan  presents 
very  graciously,  but  not  so  the  gifts  of  the  Cy- 
renaeans.  They  had  sent  no  more  than  five  hun- 
dred minae  of  silver,  which  Cambyscs,  I  im- 
agine, thought  too  little.  He  therefore  snatched 
the  money  from  them,  and  with  his  own  hands 
scattered  it  among  his  soldiers. 

14.  Ten  days  after  the  fort  had  fallen,  Cam- 
byses resolved  to  try  the  spirit  of  Psammenitus, 
the  Egyptian  king,  whose  whole  reign  had 
been  but  six  months.  He  therefore  had  him  set 
in  one  of  the  suburbs,  and  many  other  Egyp- 
tians with  him,  and  there  subjected  him  to  in- 
sult. First  of  all  he  sent  his  daughter  out  from 
the  city,  clothed  in  the  garb  of  a  slave,  with  a 
pitcher  to  draw    water.  Many   virgins,  the 
daughters  of  the  chief  nobles,  accompanied 
her,  wearing  the  same  dress.  When  the  damsels 
came  opposite  the  place  where  their  fathers 
sate,  shedding  tears  and  uttering  cries  of  woe, 
the  fathers,  all  but  Psammenitus,  wept  and 
wailed  in  return,  grieving  to  see  their  children 
in  so  sad  a  plight;  but  he,  when  he  had  looked 
and  seen,  bent  his  head  towards  the  ground. 
In  this  way  passed  by  the  water-carriers.  Next 
to  them  came  Psammenitus1  son,  and  two  thou- 
sand Egyptians  of  the  same  age  with  him — all 


92 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK  in 


of  them  having  ropes  round  their  necks  and 
bridles  in  their  mouths — and  they  too  passed 
by  on  their  way  to  suffer  death  for  the  murder 
of  the  Mytilenaeans  who  were  destroyed,  with 
their  vessel,  in  Memphis.  For  so  had  the  royal 
judges  given  their  sentence — "for  each  My- 
tilenaean  ten  of  the  noblest  Egyptians  must  for- 
feit life."  King  Psammcnitus  saw  the  train  pass 
on,  and  knew  his  son  was  being  led  to  death, 
but  while  the  other  Egyptians  who  sate 
around  him  wept  and  were  sorely  troubled,  he 
showed  no  further  sign  than  when  he  saw  his 
daughter.  And  now,  when  they  too  were  gone, 
it  chanced  that  one  of  his  former  boon-com- 
panions, a  man  advanced  in  years,  who  had 
been  stripped  of  all  that  he  had  and  was  a  beg- 
gar, came  where  Psammenitus,  son  of  Amasis, 
and  the  rest  of  the  Egyptians  were,  asking  alms 
from  the  soldiers.  At  this  sight  the  king  burst 
into  tears,  and  weeping  out  aloud,  called  his 
friend  by  his  name,  and  smote  himself  on  the 
head.  Now  there  were  some  who  had  been  set 
to  watch  Psammenitus  and  see  what  he  would 
do  as  each  train  went  by;  so  these  persons  went 
and  told  Cambyses  of  his  behaviour.  Then  he, 
astonished  at  what  was  done,  sent  a  messenger 
to  Psammenitus,  and  questioned  him,  saying, 
"Psammenitus,  thy  lord  Cambyses  asketh  thee 
why,  when  thou  sawest  thy  daughter  brought 
to  shame,  and  thy  son  on  his  way  to  death, 
thou  didst  neither  utter  cry  nor  shed  tear, 
while  to  a  beggar,  who  is,  he  hears,  a  stranger 
to  thy  race,  thou  gavest  those  marks  of  hon- 
our." To  this  question  Psammenitus  made  an- 
swer, "O  son  of  Cyrus,  my  own  misfortunes 
were  too  great  for  tears;  but  the  woe  of  my 
friend  deserved  them.  When  a  man  falls  from 
splendour  and  plenty  into  beggary  at  the  thres- 
hold of  old  age,  one  may  well  weep  for  him." 
When  the  messenger  brought  back  this  answer, 
Cambyses  owned  it  was  just;  Croesus,  likewise, 
the  Egyptians  say,  burst  into  tears — for  he  too 
had  come  into  Egypt  with  Cambyses — and  the 
Persians  who  were  present  wept.  Even  Cam- 
byses himself  was  touched  with  pity,  and  he 
forthwith  gave  an  order  that  the  son  of  Psam- 
menitus  should  be  spared  from  the  number  of 
those  appointed  to  die,  and  Psammenitus  him- 
self brought  from  the  suburb  into  his  presence. 
15.  The  messengers  were  too  late  to  save  the 
life  of  Psammenitus*  son,  who  had  been  cut 
in  pieces  the  first  of  all;  but  they  took  Psam- 
menitus himself  and  brought  him  before  the 
king.  Cambyses  allowed  him  to  live  with  him, 
and  gave  him  no  more  harsh  treatment;  nay, 
could  he  have  kept  from  intermeddling  with 


affairs,  he  might  have  recovered  Egypt,  and 
ruled  it  as  governor.  For  the  Persian  wont  is  to 
treat  the  sons  of  kings  with  honour,  and  even 
to  give  their  fathers'  kingdoms  to  the  children 
of  such  as  revolt  from  them.  There  are  many 
cases  from  which  one  may  collect  that  this  is 
the  Persian  rule,  and  especially  those  of  Pau- 
siris  and  Thannyras.  Thannyras  was  son  of 
Inarus  the  Libyan,  and  was  allowed  to  succeed 
his  father,  as  was  also  Pausiris,  son  of  Amyr- 
taeus;  yet  certainly  no  two  persons  ever  did  the 
Persians  more  damage  than  Amyrtaeus  and 
Inarus.  In  this  case  Psammenitus  plotted  evil, 
and  received  his  reward  accordingly.  He  was 
discovered  to  be  stirring  up  revolt  in  Egypt, 
wherefore  Cambyses,  when  his  guilt  clearly 
appeared,  compelled  him  to  drink  bull's  blood, 
which  presently  caused  his  death.  Such  was  the 
end  of  Psammenitus. 

1 6.  After  this  Cambyses  left  Memphis,  and 
went  to  Sai's,  wishing  to  do  that  which  he  actu- 
ally did  on  his  arrival  there.  He  entered  the 
palace  of  Amasis,  and  straightway  commanded 
that  the  body  of  the  king  should  be  brought 
forth  from  the  sepulchre.  When  the  attendants 
did  according  to  his  commandment,  he  further 
bade  them  scourge  the  body,  and  prick  it  with 
goads,  and  pluck  the  hair  from  it,1  and  heap 
upon  it  all  manner  of  insults.  The  body,  how- 
ever, having  been  embalmed,  resisted,  and  re- 
fused to  come  apart,  do  what  they  would  to  it; 
so  the  attendants  grew  weary  of  their  work; 
whereupon  Cambyses  bade  them  take  the 
corpse  and  burn  it.  This  was  truly  an  impious 
command  to  give,  for  the  Persians  hold  fire  to 
be  a  god,  and  never  by  any  chance  burn  their 
dead.  Indeed  this  practice  is  unlawful,  both 
with  them  and  with  the  Egyptians — with  them 
for  the  reason  above  mentioned,  since  they 
deem  it  wrong  to  give  the  corpse  of  a  man  to  a 
god;  and  with  the  Egyptians,  because  they  be- 
lieve fire  to  be  a  live  animal,  which  eats  what- 
ever it  can  seize,  and  then,  glutted  with  the 
food,  dies  with  the  matter  which  it  feeds  upon. 
Now  to  give  a  man's  body  to  be  devoured  by 
beasts  is  in  no  wise  agreeable  to  their  customs, 
and  indeed  this  is  the  very  reason  why  they 
embalm  their  dead;  namely,  to  prevent  them 
from  being  eaten  in  the  grave  by  worms.  Thus 
Cambyses  commanded  what  both  nations  ac- 
counted unlawful.  According  to  the  Egyptians, 

1  This  is  evidently  a  Greek  statement,  and  not 
derived  from  the  Egyptian  priests.  There  was  no 
hair  to  pluck  out,  the  "head  and  all  the  body"  of 
the  kings  and  priests  being  shaved.  The  whole 
story  may  be  doubted. 


THE  HISTORY 


93 


it  was  not  Amasis  who  was  thus  treated,  but 
another  of  their  nation  who  was  of  about  the 
same  height.  The  Persians,  believing  this  man's 
body  to  be  the  king's,  abused  it  in  the  fashion 
described  above.  Amasis,  they  say,  was  warned 
by  an  oracle  of  what  would  happen  to  him 
after  his  death:  in  order,  therefore,  to  prevent 
the  impending  fate,  he  buried  the  body,  which 
afterwards  received  the  blows,  inside  his  own 
tomb  near  the  entrance,  commanding  his  son 
to  bury  him,  when  he  died,  in  the  furthest  re- 
cess of  the  same  sepulchre.  For  my  own  part 
I  do  not  believe  that  these  orders  were  ever 
given  by  Amasis;  the  Egyptians,  as  it  seems  to 
me,  falsely  assert  it,  to  save  their  own  dignity. 

17.  After  this  Cambyses  took  counsel  with 
himself,  and  planned  three  expeditions.  One 
was  against  the  Carthaginians,  another  against 
the  Ammonians,  and  a  third  against  the  long- 
lived  Ethiopians,  who  dwelt  in  that  part  of 
Libya  which  borders  upon  the  southern  sea. 
He  judged  it  best  to  despatch  his  fleet  against 
Carthage  and  to  send  some  portion  of  his  land 
army  to  act  against  the  Ammonians,  while  his 
spies  went  into  Ethiopia,  under  the  pretence  of 
carrying  presents  to  the  king,  but  in  reality  to 
take  note  of  all  they  saw,  and  especially  to  ob- 
serve whether  there  was  really  what  is  called 
"the  table  of  the  Sun"  in  Ethiopia. 

1 8.  Now  the  table  of  the  Sun  according  to 
the  accounts  given  of  it  may  be  thus  described: 
— It  is  a  meadow  in  the  skirts  of  their  city  full 
of  the  boiled  flesh  of  all  manner  of  beasts, 
which  the  magistrates  are  careful  to  store  with 
meat  every  night,  and  where  whoever  likes 
may  come  and  eat  during  the  day.  The  people 
of  the  land  say  that  the  earth  itself  brings  forth 
the  food.  Such  is  the  description  which  is  given 
of  this  table. 

19.  When  Cambyses  had  made  up  his  mind 
that  the  spies  should  go,  he  forthwith  sent  to 
Elephantine*  for  certain  of  the  Icthyophagi  who 
were  acquainted  with  the  Ethiopian  tongue; 
and,  while  they  were  being  fetched,  issued  or- 
ders to  his  fleet  to  sail  against  Carthage.  But  the 
Phoenicians  said  they  would  not  go,  since  they 
were  bound  to  the  Carthaginians  by  solemn 
oaths,  and  since  besides  it  would  be  wicked  in 
them  to  make  war  on  their  own  children.  Now 
when  the  Phoenicians  refused,  the  rest  of  the 
fleet  was  unequal  to  the  undertaking;  and  so  it 
was  that  the  Carthaginians  escaped,  and  were 
not    enslaved    by    the    Persians.    Cambyses 
thought  it  not  right  to  force  the  war  upon  the 
Phoenicians,  because  they  had  yielded  them- 
selves to  the  Persians,  and  because  upon  the 


Phoenicians  all  his  sea-service  depended.  The 
Cyprians  had  also  joined  the  Persians  of  their 
own  accord,  and  took  part  with  them  in  the 
expedition  against  Egypt. 

20.  As  soon  as  the  Icthyophagi  arrived  from 
Elephantine",   Cambyses,   having   told    them 
what  they  were  to  say,  forthwith  despatched 
them  into  Ethiopia  with  these  following  gifts: 
to  wit,  a  purple  robe,  a  gold  chain  for  the  neck, 
armlets,  an  alabaster  box  of  myrrh,  and  a  cask 
of  palm  wine.  The  Ethiopians  to  whom  this 
embassy  was  sent  are  said  to  be  the  tallest  and 
handsomest  men  in  the  whole  world.  In  their 
customs  they  differ  greatly  from  the  rest  of 
mankind,  and  particularly  in  the  way  they 
choose  their  kings;  for  they  find  out  the  man 
who  is  the  tallest  of  all  the  citizens,  and  of 
strength  equal  to  his  height,  and  appoint  him 
to  rule  over  them. 

21.  The  Icthyophagi  on  reaching  this  peo- 
ple, delivered  the  gifts  to  the  king  of  the  coun- 
try, and  spoke  as  follows: — "Cambyses,  king 
of  the  Persians,  anxious  to  become  thy  ally  and 
sworn  friend,  has  sept  us  to  hold  converse  with 
thee,  and  to  bear  thee  the  gifts  thou  seest, 
which  are  the  things  wherein  he  himself  de- 
lights the  most."  Hereon  the  Ethiopian,  who 
knew  they  came  as  spies,  made  answer: — "The 
king  of  the  Persians  sent  you  not  with  these 
gifts  because  he  much  desired  to  become  my 
sworn  friend — nor  is  the  account  which  ye  give 
of  yourselves  true,  for  ye  are  come  to  search 
out  my  kingdom.  Also  your  king  is  not  a  just 
man — for  were  he  so,  he  had  not  coveted  a 
land  which  is  not  his  own,  nor  brought  slavery 
on  a  people  who  never  did  him  any  wrong. 
Bear  him  this  bow,  and  say — 'The  king  of  the 
Ethiops  thus  advises  the  king  of  the  Persians 
— when  the  Persians  can  pull  a  bow  of  this 
strength  thus  easily,  then  let  him  come  with 
an  army  of  superior  strength  against  the  long- 
lived  Ethiopians — till  then,  let  him  thank  the 
gods  that  they  have  not  put  it  into  the  heart  of 
the  sons  of  the   Ethiops  to  covet  countries 
which  do  not  belong  to  them.'  " 

22.  So  speaking,  he  unstrung  the  bow,  and 
gave  it  into  the  hands  of  the  messengers.  Then, 
taking  the  purple  robe,  he  asked  them  what  it 
was,  and  how  it  had  been  made.  They  an- 
swered truly,  telling  him  concerning  the  pur- 
ple, and  the  art  of  the  dyer — whereat  he  ob- 
served "that  the  men  were  deceitful,  and  their 
garments  also."  Next  he  took  the  neck-chain 
and  the  armlets,  and  asked  about  them.  So  the 
Icthyophagi  explained  their  use  as  ornaments. 
Then  the  king  laughed,  and  fancying  they 


94 


HERODOTUS 


were  fetters,  said,  "the  Ethiopians  had  much 
stronger  ones."  Thirdly,  he  inquired  about  the 
myrrh,  and  when  they  told  him  how  it  was 
made  and  rubbed  upon  the  limbs,  he  said  the 
same  as  he  had  said  about  the  robe.  Last  of  all 
he  came  to  the  wine,  and  having  learnt  their 
way  of  making  it,  he  drank  a  draught,  which 
greatly  delighted  him;  whereupon  he  asked 
what  the  Persian  king  was  wont  to  eat,  and  to 
what  age  the  longest-lived  of  the  Persians  had 
been  known  to  attain.  They  told  him  that  the 
king  ate  bread,  and  described  the  nature  of 
wheat — adding  that  eighty  years  was  the 
longest  term  of  man's  life  among  the  Persians. 
Hereat  he  remarked,  "It  did  not  surprise  him, 
if  they  fed  on  dirt,  that  they  died  so  soon;  in- 
deed he  was  sure  they  never  would  have  lived 
so  long  as  eighty  years,  except  for  the  refresh- 
ment they  got  from  that  drink  (meaning  the 
wine),  wherein  he  confessed  the  Persians  sur- 
passed the  Ethiopians." 

23.  The  Icthyophagi  then  in  their  turn  ques- 
tioned the  king  concerning  the  term  of  life, 
and  diet  of  his  people,  and  were  told  that  most 
of  them  lived  to  be  a  hundred  and  twenty 
years  old,  while  some  even  went  beyond  that 
age — they  ate  boiled  flesh,  and  had  for  their 
drink  nothing  but  milk.  When  the  Icthyo- 
phagi showed  wonder  at  the  number  of  the 
years,  he  led  them  to  a  fountain,  wherein  when 
they  had  washed,  they  found  their  flesh  all  glos- 
sy and  sleek,  as  if  they  had  bathed  in  oil — and 
a  scent  came  from  the  spring  like  that  of  vio- 
lets. The  water  was  so  weak,  they  said,  that 
nothing  would  float  in  it,  neither  wood,  nor 
any  lighter  substance,  but  all  went  to  the  bot- 
tom. If  the  account  of  this  fountain  be  true,  it 
would  be  their  constant  use  of  the  water  from 
it  which  makes  them  so  long-lived.  When  they 
quitted  the  fountain  the  king  led  them  to  a 
prison,  where  the  prisoners  were  all  of  them 
bound  with  fetters  of  gold.  Among  these  Ethi- 
opians copper  is  of  all  metals  the  most  scarce 
and  valuable.  After  they  had  seen  the  prison, 
they  were  likewise  shown  what  is  called  "the 
table  of  the  Sun." 

24.  Also,  last  of  all,  they  were  allowed  to 
behold  the  coffins  of  the  Ethiopians,  which  are 
made  (according  to  report)  of  crystal,  after  the 
following  fashion: — When  the  dead  body  has 
been  dried,  either  in  the  Egyptian,  or  in  some 
other  manner,  they  cover  the  whole  with  gyp- 
sum, and  adorn  it  with  painting  until  it  is  as 
like  the  living  man  as  possible.  Then  they  place 
the  body  in  a  crystal  pillar  which  has  been  hol- 
lowed out  to  receive  it,  crystal  being  dug  up 


[BOOK  in 

in  great  abundance  in  their  country,  and  of  a 
kind  very  easy  to  work.  You  may  see  the  corpse 
through  the  pillar  within  which  it  lies;  and  it 
neither  gives  out  any  unpleasant  odour,  nor  is 
it  in  any  respect  unseemly;  yet  there  is  no  part 
that  is  not  as  plainly  visible  as  if  the  body  were 
bare.  The  next  of  kin  keep  the  crystal  pillar  in 
their  houses  for  a  full  year  from  the  time  of 
the  death,  and  give  it  the  first  fruits  continual- 
ly, and  honour  it  with  sacrifice.  After  the  year 
is  out  they  bear  the  pillar  forth,  and  set  it  up 
near  the  town. 

25.  When  the  spies  had  now  seen  every- 
thing, they  returned  back  to  Egypt,  and  made 
report  to  Cambyses,  who  was  stirred  to  anger 
by  their  words.  Forthwith  he  set  out  on  his 
march  against  the  Ethiopians  without  having 
made  any  provision  for  the  sustenance  of  his 
army,  or  reflected  that  he  was  about  to  wage 
war  in  the  uttermost  parts  of  the  earth.  Like  a 
senseless  madman  as  he  was,  no  sooner  did  he 
receive  the  report  of  the  Icthyophagi  than  he 
began  his  march,  bidding  the  Greeks  who 
were  with  his  army  remain  where  they  were, 
and  taking  only  his  land  force  with  him.  At 
Thebes,  which  he  passed  through  on  his  way, 
he  detached  from  his  main  body  some  fifty 
thousand  men,  and  sent  them  against  the  Am- 
monians  with  orders  to  carry  the  people  into 
captivity,  and  burn  the  oracle  of  Jupiter.  Mean- 
while he  himself  went  on  with  the  rest  of  his 
forces  against  the  Ethiopians.  Before,  however, 
he  had  accomplished  one-fifth  part  of  the  dis- 
tance, all  that  the  army  had  in  the  way  of  pro- 
visions failed;  whereupon  the  men  began  to  eat 
the  sumpter  beasts,  which  shortly  failed  also. 
If  then,  at  this  time,  Cambyses,  seeing  what 
was  happening,  had  confessed  himself  in  the 
wrong,  and  led  his  army  back,  he  would  have 
done  the  wisest  thing  that  he  could  after  the 
mistake  made  at  the  outset;  but  as  it  was,  he 
took  no  manner  of  heed,  but  continued  to 
march  forwards.  So  long  as  the  earth  gave 
them  anything,  the  soldiers  sustained  life  by 
eating  the  grass  and  herbs;  but  when  they 
came  to  the  bare  sand,  a  portion  of  them  were 
guilty  of  a  horrid  deed:  by  tens  they  cast  lots 
for  a  man,  who  was  slain  to  be  the  food  of  the 
others.  When  Cambyses  heard  of  these  doings, 
alarmed  at  such  cannibalism,  he  gave  up  his 
attack  on  Ethiopia,  and  retreating  by  the  way 
he  had  come,  reached  Thebes,  after  he  had  lost 
vast  numbers  of  his  soldiers.  From  Thebes  he 
marched  down  to  Memphis,  where  he  dis- 
missed the  Greeks,  allowing  them  to  sail  home. 
And  so  ended  the  expedition  against  Ethiopia. 


23-31  ] 


THE  HISTORY 


95 


26.  The  men  sent  to  attack  the  Ammonians, 
started  from  Thebes,  having  guides  with  them, 
and  may  be  clearly  traced  as  far  as  the  city 
Oasis,  which  is  inhabited  by  Samians,  said  to 
be  of  the  tribe  ^Eschrionia.  The  place  is  distant 
from  Thebes  seven  days'  journey  across  the 
sand,  and  is  called  in  our  tongue  "the  Island  of 
the  Blessed."  Thus  far  the  army  is  known  to 
have  made  its  way;  but  thenceforth  nothing  is 
to  be  heard  of  them,  except  what  the  Ammo- 
nians, and  those  who  get  their  knowledge  from 
them,  report.' It  is  certain  they  neither  reached 
the  Ammonians,  nor  even  came  back  to  Egypt. 
Further  than  this,  the  Ammonians  relate  as 
follows: — That  the  Persians  set  forth  from  Oa- 
sis across  the  sand,  and  had  reached  about  half 
way  between  that  place  and  themselves  when, 
as  they  were  at  their  midday  meal,  a  wind 
arose  from  the  south,  strong  and  deadly,  bring- 
ing with  it  vast  columns  of  whirling  sand, 
which   entirely   covered   up   the   troops   and 
caused  them  wholly  to  disappear.  Thus,  ac- 
cording to  the  Ammonians,  did  it  fare  with 
this  army. 

27.  About  the  time  when  Cambyses  arrived 
at  Memphis,  Apis  appeared  to  the  Egyptians. 
Now  Apis  is  the  god  whom  the  Greeks  call 
Epaphus.  As  soon  as  he  appeared,  straightway 
all  the  Egyptians  arrayed  themselves  in  their 
gayest  garments,  and  fell  to  feasting  and  jolli- 
ty: which  when  Cambyses  saw,  making  sure 
that  these  rejoicings  were  on  account  of  his 
own  ill  success,  he  called  before  him  the  officers 
who  had  charge  of  Memphis,  and  demanded  of 
them — "Why,  when  he  was  in  Memphis  be- 
fore, the  Egyptians  had  done  nothing  of  this 
kind,  but  waited  until  now,  when  he  had  re- 
turned with  the  loss  of  so  many  of  his  troops?" 
The  officers  made  answer,  "That  one  of  their 
gods  had  appeared  to  them,  a  god  who  at  long 
intervals  of  time  had  been  accustomed  to  show 
himself  in  Egypt — and  that  always  on  his  ap- 
pearance the  whole  of  Egypt  feasted  and  kept 
jubilee."  When  Cambyses  heard  this,  he  told 
them  that  they  lied,  and  as  liars  he  condemned 
them  all  to  suffer  death. 

28.  When  they  were  dead,  he  called  the 
priests  to  his  presence,  and  questioning  them 
received  the  same  answer;  whereupon  he  ob- 
served, "That  he  would  soon  know  whether  a 
tame  god  had  really  come  to  dwell  in  Egypt" 
— and  straightway,  without  another  word,  he 
bade  them  bring  Apis  to  him.  So  they  went  out 
from  his  presence  to  fetch  the  god.  Now  this 
Apis,  or  Epaphus,  is  the  calf  of  a  cow  which  is 
never  afterwards  able  to  bear  young.  The 


Egyptians  say  that  fire  comes  down  from  heav- 
en upon  the  cow,  which  thereupon  conceives 
Apis.  The  calf  which  is  so  called  has  the  fol- 
lowing marks: — He  is  black,  with  a  square 
spot  of  white  upon  his  forehead,  and  on  his 
back  the  figure  of  an  eagle;  the  hairs  in  his  tail 
are  double,  and  there  is  a  beetle  upon  his 
tongue. 

29.  When  the  priests  returned  bringing  Apis 
with  them,  Cambyses,  like  the  harebrained 
person  that  he  was,  drew  his   dagger,  and 
aimed  at  the  belly  of  the  animal,  but  missed 
his  mark,  and  stabbed  him  in  the  thigh.  Then 
he  laughed,  and  said  thus  to  the  priests: — "Oh! 
blockheads,  and  think  ye  that  gods  become 
like  this,  of  flesh  and  blood,  and  sensible  to 
steel?  A  fit  god  indeed  for  Egyptians,  such  an 
one!  But  it  shall  cost  you  dear  that  you  have 
made  me  your  laughing-stock."  When  he  had 
so  spoken,  he  ordered  those  whose  business  it 
was  to  scourge  the  priests,  and  if  they  found 
any  of  the  Egyptians  keeping  festival  to  put 
them  to  death.  Thus  was  the  feast  stopped 
throughout  the  land  of  Egypt,  and  the  priests 
suffered  punishment.  Apis,  wounded  in  the 
thigh,  lay  some  time  pining  in  the  temple;  at 
last  he  died  of  his  wound,  and  the  priests  bur- 
ied him  secretly  without  the  knowledge  of 
Cambyses. 

30.  And  now  Cambyses,  who  even  before 
had  not  been  quite  in  his   right  mind,  was 
forthwith,  as  the  Egyptians  say,  smitten  with 
madness  for  this  crime.  The  first  of  his  out- 
rages was  the  slaying  of  Smerdis,  his  full  broth- 
er, whom  he  had  sent  back  to  Persia  from 
Egypt  out  of  envy,  because  he  drew  the  bow 
brought  from  the  Ethiopians  by  the  Icthyo- 
phagi  (which  none  of  the  other  Persians  were 
able  to  bend)   the  distance  of  two   fingers' 
breadth.  When   Smerdis  was   departed  into 
Persia,  Cambyses  had  a  vision  in  his  sleep — he 
thought  a  messenger  from  Persia  came  to  him 
with  tidings  that  Smerdis  sat  upon  the  royal 
throne  and  with  his  head  touched  the  heav- 
ens. Fearing  therefore  for  himself,  and  think- 
ing it  likely  that  his  brother  would  kill  him 
and  rule  in  his  stead,  Cambyses  sent  into  Per- 
sia Prexaspes,  whom  he  trusted  beyond  all  the 
other  Persians,  bidding  him  put  Smerdis  to 
death.  So  this  Prexaspes  went  up  to  Susa  and 
slew  Smerdis.  Some  say  he  killed  him  as  they 
hunted  together,  others,  that   he  took   him 
down  to  the  Erythraean  Sea,  and  there  drowned 
him. 

31.  This,  it  is  said,  was  the  first  outrage 
which  Cambyses  committed.  The  second  was 


96 


HERODOTUS 


[  BOOK  in 


the  slaying  of  his  sister,  who  had  accompanied 
him  into  Egypt,  and  lived  with  him  as  his  wife, 
though  she  was  his  full  sister,  the  daughter 
both  of  his  father  and  his  mother.  The  way 
wherein  he  had  made  her  his  wife  was  the  fol- 
lowing:— It  was  not  the  custom  of  the  Per- 
sians, before  his  time,  to  marry  their  sisters — 
but  Cambyses,  happening  to  fall  in  love  with 
one  of  his  and  wishing  to  take  her  to  wife,  as 
he  knew  that  it  was  an  uncommon  thing,  called 
together  the  royal  judges,  and  put  it  to  them, 
"whether  there  was  any  law  which  allowed  a 
brother,  if  he  wished,  to  marry  his  sister?" 
Now  the  royal  judges  are  certain  picked  men 
among  the  Persians,  who  hold  their  office  for 
life,  or  until  they  are  found  guilty  of  some  mis- 
conduct. By  them  justice  is  administered  in 
Persia,  and  they  arc  the  interpreters  of  the  old 
laws,  all  disputes  being  referred  to  their  deci- 
sion. When  Cambyses,  therefore,  put  his  ques- 
tion to  these  judges,  they  gave  him  an  answer 
which  was  at  once  true  and  safe — "they  did  not 
find  any  law,"  they  said,  "allowing  a  brother 
to  take  his  sister  to  wife,  but  they  found  a  law, 
that  the  king  of  the  Persians  might  do  what- 
ever he  pleased."  And  so  they  neither  warped 
the  law  through  fear  of  Cambyses,  nor  ruined 
themselves  by  over  stiffly  maintaining  the  law; 
but  they  brought  another  quite  distinct  law  to 
the  king's  help,  which  allowed  him  to  have  his 
wish.  Cambyses,  therefore,  married  the  object 
of  his  love,  and  no  long  time  afterwards  he 
took  to  wife  another  sister.  It  was  the  younger 
of  these  who  went  with  him  into  Egypt,  and 
there  suffered  death  at  his  hands. 

32.  Concerning  the  manner  of  her  death,  as 
concerning  that  of  Smerdis,  two  different  ac- 
counts are  given.  The  story  which  the  Greeks 
tell  is  that  Cambyses  had  set  a  young  dog  to 
fight  the  cub  of  a  lioness — his  wife  looking  on 
at  the  time.  Now  the  dog  was  getting  the 
worse,  when  a  pup  of  the  same  litter  broke  his 
chain,  and  came  to  his  brother's  aid — then  the 
two  dogs  together  fought  the  lion,  and  con- 
quered him.  The  thing  greatly  pleased  Cam- 
byses, but  his  sister  who  was  sitting  by  shed 
tears.  When  Cambyses  saw  this,  he  asked  her 
why  she  wept:  whereon  she  told  him,  that  see- 
ing the  young  dog  come  to  his  brother's  aid 
made  her  think  of  Smerdis,  whom  there  was 
none  to  help.  For  this  speech,  the  Greeks  say, 
Cambyses  put  her  to  death.  But  the  Egyptians 
tell  the  story  thus: — The  two  were  sitting  at 
table,  when  the  sister  took  a  lettuce,  and  strip- 
ping the  leaves  off,  asked  her  brother  "when 
he  thought  the  lettuce  looked  the  prettiest — 


when  it  had  all  its  leaves  on,  or  now  that  it  was 
stripped?"  He  answered,  "When  the  leaves 
were  on."  "But  thou,"  she  rejoined,  "hast  done 
as  I  did  to  the  lettuce,  and  made  bare  the  house 
of  Cyrus."  Then  Cambyses  was  wroth,  and 
sprang  fiercely  upon  her,  though  she  was  with 
child  at  the  time.  And  so  it  came  to  pass  that 
she  miscarried  and  died. 

33.  Thus  mad  was  Cambyses  upon  his  own 
kindred,  and  this  either  from  his  usage  of  Apis, 
or  from  some  other  among  the  many  causes 
from  which  calamities  are  wont  to  arise.  They 
say  that  from  his  birth  he  was  afflicted  with  a 
dreadful  disease,  the  disorder  which  some  call 
"the  sacred  sickness."1  It  would  be  by  no 
means  strange,  therefore,  if  his  mind  were  af- 
fected in  some  degree,  seeing  that  his  body  la- 
boured under  so  sore  a  malady. 

34.  He  was  mad  also  upon  others  besides  his 
kindred;  among  the  rest,  upon  Prexaspes,  the 
man  whom  he  esteemed  beyond  all  the  rest  of 
the  Persians,  who  carried  his  messages,  and 
whose  son  held  the  office — an  honour  of  no 
small   account    in  Persia — of  his  cupbearer. 
Him  Cambyses  is  said  to  have  once  addressed 
as  follows: — "What  sort  of  man,  Prexaspes,  do 
the  Persians  think  me?  What  do  they  say  of 
me?"   Prexaspes   answered,   "Oh!   sire,   they 
praise  thee  greatly  in  all  things  but  one — they 
say  thou  art  too  much  given  to  love  of  wine." 
Such  Prexaspes  told  him  was  the  judgment  of 
the  Persians;  whereupon  Cambyses,  full  of 
rage,  made  answer,  "What?  they  say  now  that 
I  drink  too  much  wine,  and  so  have  lost  my 
senses,  and  am  gone  out  of  my  mind!  Then 
their  former  speeches  about  me  were  untrue." 
For  once,  when  the  Persians  were  sitting  with 
him,  and  Crcesus  was  by,  he  had  asked  them, 
"What  sort  of  man  they  thought  him  com- 
pared to  his  father  Cyrus?"  Hereon  they  had 
answered,  "That  he  surpassed  his  father,  for  he 
was  lord  of  all  that  his  father  ever  ruled,  and 
further  had  made  himself  master  of  Egypt, 
and  the  sea."  Then  Crcesus,  who  was  standing 
near,  and  misliked  the  comparison,  spoke  thus 
to  Cambyses:  "In  my  judgment,  O  son  of  Cy- 
rus, thou  art  not  equal  to  thy  father,  for  thou 
hast  not  yet  left  behind  thee  such  a  son  as  he." 
Cambyses  was  delighted  when  he  heard  this 
reply,  and  praised  the  judgment  of  Croesus. 

35.  Recollecting  these  answers,   Cambyses 
spoke  fiercely  to  Prexaspes,  saying,  "Judge  now 
thyself,  Prexaspes,  whether  the  Persians  tell 
the  truth,  or  whether  it  is  not  they  who  are 
mad  for  speaking  as  they  do.  Look  there  now 

1  Epilepsy. 


32-38] 


THE  HISTORY 


97 


at  thy  son  standing  in  the  vestibule — if  I  shoot 
and  hit  him  right  in  the  middle  of  the  heart, 
it  will  be  plain  the  Persians  have  no  grounds 
for  what  they  say:  if  I  miss  him,  then  I  allow 
that  the  Persians  are  right,  and  that  I  am  out 
of  my  mind."  So  speaking  he  drew  his  bow  to 
the  full,  and  struck  the  boy,  who  straightway 
fell  down  dead.  Then  Cambyses  ordered  the 
body  to  be  opened,  and  the  wound  examined; 
and  when  the  arrow  was  found  to  have  entered 
the  heart,  the  king  was  quite  overjoyed,  and 
said  to  the  father  with  a  laugh,  "Now  thou 
seest  plainly,  Prexaspes,  that  it  is  not  I  who  am 
mad,  but  the  Persians  who  have  lost  their 
senses.  I  pray  thee  tell  me,  sawest  thou  ever 
mortal  man  send  an  arrow  with  a  better  aim?" 
Prexaspes,  seeing  that  the  king  was  not  in  his 
right  mind,  and  fearing  for  himself,  replied, 
"Oh!  my  lord,  I  do  not  think  that  God  himself 
could  shoot  so  dexterously."  Such  was  the  out- 
rage which  Cambyses  committed  at  this  time: 
at  another,  he  took  twelve  of  the  noblest  Per- 
sians, and,  without  bringing  any  charge  wor- 
thy of  death  against  them,  buried  them  all  up 
to  the  neck. 

36.  Hereupon  Croesus  the  Lydian  thought 
it  right  to  admonish  Cambyses,  which  he  did 
in  these  words  following: — "Oh!  king,  allow 
not  thyself  to  give  way  entirely  to  thy  youth, 
and  the  heat  of  thy  temper,  but  check  and  con- 
trol thyself.  It  is  well  to  look  to  consequences, 
and  in  forethought  is  true  wisdom.  Thou  lay- 
est  hold  of  men,  who  are  thy  fellow-citizens, 
and,  without  cause  of  complaint,  slayest  them 
— thou  even  puttest  children  to  death — bethink 
thee  now,  if  thou  shalt  often  do  things  like 
these,  will  not  the  Persians  rise  in  revolt  against 
thee?  It  is  by  thy  father's  wish  that  I  offer  thee 
advice;  he  charged  me  strictly  to  give  thee 
such  counsel  as  I  might  see  to  be  most  for  thy 
good."  In  thus  advising  Cambyses,  Croesus 
meant  nothing  but  what  was  friendly.  But 
Cambyses  answered  him,  "Dost  thou  presume 
to  offer  me  advice?  Right  well  thou  ruledst 
thy  own  country  when  thou  wert  a  king,  and 
right  sage  advice  thou  gavest  my  father  Cyrus, 
bidding  him  cross  the  Araxes  and  fight  the 
Massagetae  in  their  own  land,  when  they  were 
willing  to  have  passed  over  into  ours.  By  thy 
misdirection  of  thine  own  affairs  thou  brought- 
est  ruin  upon  thyself,  and  by  thy  bad  counsel, 
which  he  followed,  thou  broughtest  ruin  upon 
Cyrus,  my  father.  But  thou  shalt  not  escape 
punishment  now,  for  I  have  long  been  seeking 
to  find  some  occasion  against  thee."  As  he  thus 
spoke,  Cambyses  took  up  his  bow  to  shoot  at 


Croesus;  but  Croesus  ran  hastily  out,  and  es- 
caped. So  when  Cambyses  found  that  he  could 
not  kill  him  with  his  bow,  he  bade  his  servants 
seize  him,  and  put  him  to  death.  The  servants, 
however,  who  knew  their  master's  humour, 
thought  it  best  to  hide  Croesus;  that  so,  if  Cam- 
byses relented,  and  asked  for  him,  they  might 
bring  him  out,  and  get  a  reward  for  having 
saved  his  life — if,  on  the  other  hand,  he  did  not 
relent,  or  regret  the  loss,  they  might  then  des- 
patch him.  Not  long  afterwards,  Cambyses  did 
in  fact  regret  the  loss  of  Croesus,  and  the  serv- 
ants, perceiving  it,  let  him  know  that  he  was 
still  alive.  "I  am  glad,"  said  he,  "that  Croesus 
lives,  but  as  for  you  who  saved  him,  ye  shall 
not  escape  my  vengeance,  but  shall  all  of  you 
be  put  to  death."  And  he  did  even  as  he  had 
said. 

37.  Many  other  wild  outrages  of  this  sort 
did  Cambyses  commit,  both  upon  the  Persians 
and  the  allies,  while  he  still  stayed  at  Memphis; 
among  the  rest  he  opened  the  ancient  sepul- 
chres, and  examined  the  bodies  that  were  bur- 
ied in  them.  He  likewise  went  into  the  temple 
of  Vulcan,  and  made  great  sport  of  the  image. 
For  the  image  of  Vulcan   is   very  like  the 
Pataeci  of  the  Phoenicians,  wherewith  they  orna- 
ment the  prows  of  their  ships  of  war.  If  per- 
sons have  not  seen  these,  I  will  explain  in  a 
different  way — it  is  a  figure  resembling  that  of 
a  pigmy.  He  went  also  into  the  temple  of  the 
Cabiri,  which  it  is  unlawful  for  any  one  to  en- 
ter except  the  priests,  and  not  only  made  sport 
of  the  images,  but  even  burnt  them.  They  are 
made  like  the  statue  of  Vulcan,  who  is  said  to 
have  been  their  father. 

38.  Thus  it  appears  certain  to  me,  by  a  great 
variety  of  proofs,  that  Cambyses  was  raving 
mad;  he  would  not  else  have  set  himself  to 
make  a  mock  of  holy  rites  and  long-established 
usages.  For  if  one  were  to  offer  men  to  choose 
out  of  all  the  customs  in  the  world  such  as 
seemed  to  them  the  best,  they  would  examine 
the  whole  number,  and  end  by  preferring  their 
own;  so  convinced  are  they  that  their  own  us- 
ages far  surpass  those  of  all  others.  Unless, 
therefore,  a  man  was  mad,  it  is  not  likely  that 
he  would  make  sport  of  such  matters.  That 
people  have  this  feeling  about  their  laws  may 
be  seen  by  very  many  proofs:  among  others,  by 
the  following.  Darius,  after  he  had  got  the 
kingdom,   called    into   his    presence    certain 
Greeks  who  were  at  hand,  and  asked — "What 
he  should  pay  them  to  eat  the  bodies  of  their 
fathers  when  they  died?"  To  which  they  an- 
swered, that  there  was  no  sum  that  would 


98 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK  m 


tempt  them  to  do  such  a  thing.  He  then  sent 
for  certain  Indians,  of  the  race  called  Callati- 
ans,  men  who  eat  their  fathers,  and  asked 
them,  while  the  Greeks  stood  by,  and  knew 
by  the  help  of  an  interpreter  all  that  was  said 
— "What  he  should  give  them  to  burn  the  bod- 
ies of  their  fathers  at  their  decease?"  The  In- 
dians exclaimed  aloud,  and  bade  him  forbear 
such  language.  Such  is  men's  wont  herein;  and 
Pindar  was  right,  in  my  judgment,  when  he 
said,  "Law  is  the  king  o'er  all." 

39.  While  Cambyses  was  carrying  on  this 
war  in  Egypt,  the  Lacedaemonians  likewise 
sent  a  force  to  Samos  against  Polycrates,  the 
son  of  jEaces,  who  had  by  insurrection  made 
himself  master  of  that  island.  At  the  outset  he 
divided  the  state  into  three  parts,  and  shared 
the  kingdom  with  his  brothers,  Pantagnotus 
and  Syloson;  but  later,  having  killed  the  for- 
mer and  banished  the  latter,  who  was  the 
younger  of  the  two,  he  held  the  whole  island. 
Hereupon  he  made  a  contract  of  friendship 
with  Amasis  the  Egyptian  king,  sending  him 
gifts,  and  receiving  from  him  others  in  return. 
In  a  little  while  his  power  so  greatly  increased, 
that  the  fame  of  it  went  abroad  throughout  Io- 
nia and  the  rest  of  Greece.  Wherever  he  turned 
his  arms,  success  waited  on  him.  He  had  a  fleet 
of  a  hundred  penteconters,  and  bowmen  to  the 
number  of  a  thousand.  Herewith  he  plundered 
all,  without  distinction  of  friend  or  foe;  for  he 
argued  that  a  friend  was  better  pleased  if  you 
gave  him  back  what  you  had  taken  from  him, 
than  if  you  spared  him  at  the  first.  He  cap- 
tured many  of  the  islands,  and  several  towns 
upon  the  mainland.  Among  his  other  doings 
he  overcame  the  Lesbians  in  a  sea-fight,  when 
they  came  with  all  their  forces  to  the  help  of 
Miletus,  and  made  a  number  of  them  prison- 
ers. These  persons,  laden  with  fetters,  dug  the 
moat  which  surrounds  the  castle  at  Samos. 

40.  The  exceeding  good  fortune  of  Poly- 
crates  did  not  escape  the  notice  of  Amasis,  who 
was  much  disturbed  thereat.  When  therefore 
his   successes   continued    increasing,   Amasis 
wrote  him  the  following  letter,  and  sent  it  to 
Samos.  "Amasis  to  Polycrates  thus  sayeth:  It 
is  a  pleasure  to  hear  of  a  friend  and  ally  pros- 
pering, but  thy  exceeding  prosperity  does  not 
cause  me  joy,  forasmuch  as  I  know  that  the  gods 
are  envious.  My  wish  for  myself  and  for  those 
whom  I  love  is  to  be  now  successful,  and  now 
to  meet  with  a  check;  thus  passing  through  life 
amid  alternate  good  and  ill,  rather  than  with 
perpetual  good  fortune.  For  never  yet  did  I 
hear  tell  of  any  one  succeeding  in  all  his  under- 


takings, who  did  not  meet  with  calamity  at 
last,  and  come  to  utter  ruin.  Now,  therefore, 
give  ear  to  my  words,  and  meet  thy  good  luck 
in  this  way:  bethink  thee  which  of  all  thy  treas- 
ures thou  valuest  most  and  canst  least  bear  to 
part  with;  take  it,  whatsoever  it  be,  and  throw 
it  away,  so  that  it  may  be  sure  never  to  come 
any  more  into  the  sight  of  man.  Then,  if  thy 
good  fortune  be  not  thenceforth  chequered 
with  ill,  save  thyself  from  harm  by  again  doing 
as  I  have  counselled." 

41.  When  Polycrates  read  this  letter,  and 
perceived  that  the  advice  of  Amasis  was  good, 
he  considered  carefully  with  himself  which  of 
the  treasures  that  he  had  in  store  it  would 
grieve  him  most  to  lose.  After  much  thought 
he  made  up  his  mind  that  it  was  a  signet-ring 
which  he  was  wont  to  wear,  an  emerald  set  in 
gold,  the  workmanship  of  Theodore,  son  of 
Telecles,  a  Samian.  So  he  determined  to  throw 
this  away;  and,  manning  a  penteconter,  he 
went  on  board,  and  bade  the  sailors  put  out 
into  the  open  sea.  When  he  was  now  a  long 
way  from  the  island,  he  took  the  ring  from  his 
finger,  and,  in  the  sight  of  all  those  who  were 
on  board,  flung  it  into  the  deep.  This  done,  he 
returned  home,  and  gave  vent  to  his  sorrow. 

42.  Now  it  happened  five  or  six  days  after- 
wards that  a  fisherman  caught  a  fish  so  large 
and  beautiful  that  he  thought  it  well  deserved 
to  be  made  a  present  of  to  the  king.  So  he  took 
it  with  him  to  the  gate  of  the  palace,  and  said 
that  he  wanted  to  see  Polycrates.  Then  Poly- 
crates  allowed  him  to  come  in,  and  the  fisher- 
man gave  him  the  fish  with  these  words  fol- 
lowing— "Sir  king,  when  I  took  this  prize,  I 
thought  I  would  not  carry  it  to  market,  though 
I  am  a  poor  man  who  live  by  my  trade.  I  said 
to  myself,  it  is  worthy  of  Polycrates  and  his 
greatness;  and  so  I  brought  it  here  to  give  it  to 
you."  The  speech  pleased  the  king,  who  thus 
spoke    in    reply: — "Thou   didst   right   well, 
friend,  and  I  am  doubly  indebted,  both  for  the 
gift,  and  for  the  speech.  Come  now,  and  sup 
with  me."  So  the  fisherman  went  home,  es- 
teeming it  a  high  honour  that  he  had  been 
asked  to  sup  with  the  king.  Meanwhile  the 
servants,  on  cutting  open  the  fish,  found  the 
signet  of  their  master  in  its  belly.  No  sooner 
did  they  see  it  than  they  seized  upon  it,  and 
hastening  to  Polycrates  with  great  joy,  restored 
it  to  him,  and  told  him  in  what  way  it  had 
been  found.  The  king,  who  saw  something 
providential  in  the  matter,  forthwith  wrote  a 
letter  to  Amasis,  telling  him  all  that  had  hap- 
pened, what  he  had  himself  done,  and  what 


39-48] 

had  been  the  upshot — and  despatched  the  let- 
ter to  Egypt. 

43.  When  Amasis  had  read  the  letter  of 
Polycrates,  he  perceived  that  it  does  not  belong 
to  man  to  save  his  fellow-man  from  the  fate 
which  is  in  store  for  him;  likewise  he  felt  cer- 
tain that  Polycrates  would  end  ill,  as  he  pros- 
pered in  everything,  even  finding  what  he  had 
thrown  away.  So  he  sent  a  herald  to  Samos, 
and  dissolved  the  contract  of  friendship.  This 
he  did,  that  when  the  great  and  heavy  mis- 
fortune came,  he  might  escape  the  grief  which 
he  would  have  felt  if  the  sufferer  had  been  his 
bond-friend. 

44.  It  was  with  this  Polycrates,  so  fortunate 
in  every  undertaking,  that  the  Lacedaemonians 
now  went  to  war.  Certain  Samians,  the  same 
who  afterwards  founded  the  city  of  Cydonia 
in  Crete,  had  earnestly  intreated  their  help. 
For  Polycrates,  at  the  time  when  Cambyses, 
son  of  Cyrus,  was  gathering  together  an  arma- 
ment against  Egypt,  had  sent  to  beg  him  not 
to  omit  to  ask  aid  from  Samos;  whereupon 
Cambyses  with  much  readiness  despatched  a 
messenger  to  the  island,  and  made  request  that 
Polycrates  would  give  some  ships  to  the  naval 
force  which  he  was  collecting  against  Egypt. 
Polycrates  straightway  picked  out  from  among 
the  citizens  such  as  he  thought  most  likely  to 
stir  revolt  against  him,  and  manned  with  them 
forty  triremes,  which  he  sent  to  Cambyses,  bid- 
ding him  keep  the  men  safe,  and  never  allow 
them  to  return  home. 

45.  Now  some  accounts  say  that  these  Sa- 
mians did  not  reach  Egypt;  for  that  when  they 
were  off  Carpathus,  they  took  counsel  together 
and  resolved  to  sail  no  further.  But  others 
maintain  that  they  did  go  to  Egypt,  and,  find- 
ing themselves  watched,  deserted,  and  sailed 
back  to  Samos.  There  Polycrates  went  out 
against  them  with  his  fleet,  and  a  battle  was 
fought  and  gained  by  the  exiles;  after  which 
they  disembarked  upon  the  island  and  engaged 
the  land  forces  of  Polycrates,  but  were  defeated, 
and  so  sailed  off  to  Lacedxmon.  Some  relate 
that  the  Samians  from  Egypt  overcame  Poly- 
crates, but  it  seems  to  me  untruly;  for  had  the 
Samians  been  strong  enough  to  conquer  Poly- 
crates by  themselves,  they   would  not  have 
needed  to  call  in  the  aid  of  the  Lacedaemo- 
nians. And  moreover,  it  is  not  likely  that  a 
king  who  had  in  his  pay  so  large  a  body  of  for- 
eign  mercenaries,   and   maintained   likewise 
such  a  force  of  native  bowmen,  would  have 
been  worsted  by  an  army  so  small  as  that  of  the 
returned  Samians.  As  for  his  own  subjects,  to 


THE  HISTORY 


99 


hinder  them  from  betraying  him  and  joining 
the  exiles,  Polycrates  shut  up  their  wives  and 
children  in  the  sheds  built  to  shelter  his  ships, 
and  was  ready  to  burn  sheds  and  all  in  case  of 
need. 

46.  When  the  banished  Samians  reached 
Sparta,  they  had  audience  of  the  magistrates, 
before  whom  they  made  a  long  speech,  as  was 
natural  with  persons  greatly  in  want  of  aid. 
Accordingly  at  this  first  sitting  the  Spartans 
answered  them  that  they  had  forgotten  the 
first  half  of  their  speech,  and  could  make  noth- 
ing of  the  remainder.  Afterwards  the  Samians 
had  another  audience,  whereat  they  simply 
said,  showing  a  bag  which  they  had  brought 
with  them,  "The  bag  wants  flour."  The  Spar- 
tans answered  that  they  did  not  need  to  have 
said  "the  bag";  however,  they  resolved  to  give 
them  aid. 

47.  Then  the  Lacedaemonians  made  ready 
and  set  forth  to  the  attack  of  Samos,  from  a 
motive  of  gratitude,  if  we  may  believe  the 
Samians,  because  the  Samians  had  once  sent 
ships  to  their  aid  against  the  Messenians;  but 
as  the  Spartans  themselves  say,  not  so  much 
from  any  wish  to  assist  the  Samians  who  beg- 
ged their  help,  as  from  a  desire  to  punish  the 
people  who  had  seized  the  bowl  which  they 
sent  to  Croesus,  and  the  corselet  which  Amasis, 
king  of  Egypt,  sent  as  a  present  to  them.  The 
Samians  made  prize  of  this  corselet  the  year 
before  they  took  the  bowl — it  was  of  linen,  and 
had  a  vast  number  of  figures  of  animals  in- 
woven into  its  fabric,  and  was  likewise  em- 
broidered with  gold  and  tree-wool.  What  is 
most  worthy  of  admiration  in  it  is  that  each 
of  the  twists,  although  of  fine  texture,  contains 
within  it  three  hundred  and  sixty  threads,  all 
of  them  clearly  visible.  The  corselet  which  Am- 
asis gave  to  the  temple  of  Minerva  in  Lindus 
is  just  such  another. 

48.  The  Corinthians  likewise  right  willing- 
ly lent  a  helping  hand  towards  the  expedition 
against  Samos;  for  a  generation  earlier,  about 
the  time  of  the  seizure  of  the  wine-bowl,  they 
too  had  suffered  insult  at  the  hands  of  the  Sa- 
mians. It  happened  that  Periander,  son   of 
Cypselus,  had  taken  three  hundred  boys,  chil- 
dren of  the  chief  nobles   among  the  Cor- 
cyraeans,  and  sent  them  to  Alyattes  for  eu- 
nuchs; the  men  who  had  them   in  charge 
touched  at  Samos  on  their  way  to  Sardis; 
whereupon  the  Samians,  having  found  out 
what  was  to  become  of  the  boys  when  they 
reached  that  city,  first  prompted  them  to  take 
sanctuary  at  the  temple  of  Diana;  and  after 


100 


HERODOTUS 


this,  when  the  Corinthians,  as  they  were  for- 
bidden to  tear  the  suppliants  from  the  holy 
place,  sought  to  cut  oft  from  them  all  supplies 
of  food,  invented  a  festival  in  their  behalf, 
which  they  celebrate  to  this  day  with  the  self- 
same rites.  Each  evening,  as  night  closed  in, 
during  the  whole  time  that  the  boys  continued 
there,  choirs  of  youths  and  virgins  were  placed 
about  the  temple,  carrying  in  their  hands  cakes 
made  of  sesame  and  honey,  in  order  that  the 
Corcyraean  boys  might  snatch  the  cakes,  and  so 
get  enough  to  live  upon. 

49.  And  this  went  on  for  so  long,  that  at  last 
the  Corinthians  who  had  charge  of  the  boys 
gave  them  up,  and  took  their  departure,  upon 
which  the  Samians  conveyed  them  back  to 
Corcyra.  If  now,  after  the  death  of  Periander, 
the  Corinthians  and  Corcyracans  had  been  good 
friends,  it  is  not  to  be  imagined  that  the  former 
would  ever  have  taken  part  in  the  expedition 
against  Samos  for  such  a  reason  as  this;  but  as, 
in  fact,  the  two  people  have  always,  ever  since 
the  first  settlement  of  the  island,  been  enemies 
to  one  another,  this  outrage  was  remembered, 
and  the  Corinthians  bore  the  Samians  a  grudge 
for  it.  Periander  had  chosen  the  youths  from 
among  the  first  families  in  Corcyra,  and  sent 
them  a  present  to  Alyattes,  to  avenge  a  wrong 
which  he  had  received.  For  it  was  the  Cor- 
cyraeans  who  began  the  quarrel  and  injured 
Periander  by  an  outrage  of  a  horrid  nature. 

50.  After  Periander  had  put  to  death  his 
wife  Melissa,  it  chanced  that  on  this  first  afflic- 
tion a  second  followed  of  a  different  kind.  His 
wife  had  borne  him  two  sons,  and  one  of  them 
had  now  reached  the  age  of  seventeen,  the 
other  of  eighteen  years,  when  their  mother's 
father,   Procles,  tyrant  of  Epidaurus,  asked 
them  to  his  court.  They  went,  and  Procles 
treated  them  with  much  kindness,  as  was  nat- 
ural, considering  they  were  his  own  daughter's 
children.  At  length,  when  the  time  for  parting 
came,  Procles,  as  he  was  sending  them  on  their 
way,  said,  "Know  you  now,  my  children,  who 
it  was  that  caused  your  mother's  death?"  The 
elder  son  took  no  account  of  this  speech,  but 
the  younger,  whose  name  was  Lycophron,  was 
sorely  troubled  at  it — so  much  so,  that  when  he 
got  back  to  Corinth,  looking  upon  his  father 
as  his  mother's  murderer,  he  would  neither 
speak  to  him,  nor  answer  when  spoken  to,  nor 
utter  a  word  in  reply  to  all  his  questionings.  So 
Periander  at  last,  growing  furious  at  such  be- 
haviour, banished  him  from  his  house. 

51.  The  younger  son  gone,  he  turned  to  the 
elder  and  asked  him,  "what  it  was  that  their 


[BooK  in 

grandfather  had  said  to  them?"  Then  he  re- 
lated in  how  kind  and  friendly  a  fashion  he 
had  received  them;  but,  not  having  taken  any 
notice  of  the  speech  which  Procles  had  uttered 
at  parting,  he  quite  forgot  to  mention  it.  Peri- 
ander insisted  that  it  was  not  possible  this 
should  be  all — their  grandfather  must  have 
given  them  some  hint  or  other — and  he  went 
on  pressing  him,  till  at  last  the  lad  remembered 
the  parting  speech  and  told  it.  Periander,  after 
he  had  turned  the  whole  matter  over  in  his 
thoughts,  and  felt  unwilling  to  give  way  at  all, 
sent  a  messenger  to  the  persons  who  had 
opened  their  houses  to  his  outcast  son,  and  for- 
bade them  to  harbour  him.  Then  the  boy,  when 
he  was  chased  from  one  friend,  sought  refuge 
with  another,  but  was  driven  from  shelter  to 
shelter  by  the  threats  of  his  father,  who  men- 
aced all  those  that  took  him  in,  and  command- 
ed them  to  shut  their  doors  against  him.  Still,  as 
fast  as  he  was  forced  to  leave  one  house  he  went 
to  another,  and  was  received  by  the  inmates;  for 
his  acquaintance,  although  in  no  small  alarm, 
yet  gave  him  shelter,  as  he  was  Periander's  son. 
52.  At  last  Periander  made  proclamation 
that  whoever  harboured  his  son  or  even  spoke 
to  him,  should  forfeit  a  certain  sum  of  money 
to  Apollo.  On  hearing  this  no  one  any  longer 
liked  to  take  him  in,  or  even  to  hold  converse 
with  him,  and  he  himself  did  not  think  it  right 
to  seek  to  do  what  was  forbidden;  so,  abiding 
by  his  resolve,  he  made  his  lodging  in  the  pub- 
lic porticos.  When  four  days  had  passed  in  this 
way,  Periander,  seeing  how  wretched  his  son 
was,  that  he  neither  washed  nor  took  any  food, 
felt  moved  with  compassion  towards  him; 
wherefore,  foregoing  his  anger,  he  approached 
him,  and  said,  " Which  is  better,  oh'  my  son,  to 
fare  as  now  thou  farest,  or  to  receive  my  crown 
and  all  the  good  things  that  I  possess,  on  the 
one  condition  of  submitting  thyself  to  thy  fa- 
ther? See,  now,  though  my  own  child,  and 
lord  of  this  wealthy  Corinth,  thou  hast  brought 
thyself  to  a  beggar's  life,  because  thou  must  re- 
sist and  treat  with  anger  him  whom  it  least  be- 
hoves thee  to  oppose.  If  there  has  been  a  calam- 
ity, and  thou  bearest  me  ill  will  on  that  ac- 
count, bethink  thee  that  I  too  feel  it,  and  am 
the  greatest  sufferer,  in  as  much  as  it  was  by 
me  that  the  deed  was  done.  For  thyself,  now 
that  thou  knowest  how  much  better  a  thing  it 
is  to  be  envied  than  pitied,  and  how  dangerous 
it  is  to  indulge  anger  against  parents  and  su- 
periors, come  back  with  me  to  thy  home." 
With  such  words  as  these  did  Periander  chide 
his  son;  but  the  son  made  no  reply,  except  to  re- 


49-57] 


THE  HISTORY 


101 


mind  his  father  that  he  was  indebted  to  the 
god  in  the  penalty  for  coming  and  holding  con- 
verse with  him.  Then  Periander  knew  that 
there  was  no  cure  for  the  youth's  malady,  nor 
means  of  overcoming  it;  so  he  prepared  a  ship 
and  sent  him  away  out  of  his  sight  to  Corcyra, 
which  island  at  that  time  belonged  to  him.  As 
for  Procles,  Periander,  regarding  him  as  the 
true  author  of  all  his  present  troubles,  went  to 
war  with  him  as  soon  as  his  son  was  gone,  and 
not  only  made  himself  master  of  his  kingdom 
Epidaurus,  but  also  took  Procles  himself,  and 
carried  him  into  captivity. 

53.  As  time  went  on,  and  Periander  came  to 
be  old,  he  found  himself  no  longer  equal  to  the 
oversight  and  management  of  affairs.  Seeing, 
therefore,  in  his  eldest  son  no  manner  of  abil- 
ity, but  knowing  him  to  be  dull  and  blockish, 
he  sent  to  Corcyra  and  recalled  Lycophron  to 
take  the  kingdom.  Lycophron,  however,  did 
not  even  deign  to  ask  the  bearer  of  this  mes- 
sage a  question.  But  Periander's  heart  was  set 
upon  the  youth,  so  he  sent  again  to  him,  this 
time  by  his  own  daughter,  the  sister  of  Lyco- 
phron, who  would,  he  thought,  have  more 
power  to  persuade  him  than  any  other  person. 
Then  she,  when  she  reached  Corcyra,  spoke 
thus  with  her  brother: — "Dost  thou  wish  the 
kingdom,  brother,  to  pass  into  strange  hands, 
and  our  father's  wealth  to  be  made  a  prey, 
rather  than  thyself  return  to  enjoy  it?  Come 
back  home  with  me,  and  cease  to  punish  thy- 
self. It  is  scant  gain,  this  obstinacy.  Why  seek 
to  cure  evil  by  evil?  Mercy,  remember,  is  by 
many  set  above  justice.  Many,  also,  while  push- 
ing their  mother's  claims  have  forfeited  their 
father's  fortune.  Power  is  a  slippery  thing — it 
has  many  suitors;  and  he  is  old  and  stricken  in 
years — let  not  thy  own  inheritance  go  to  anoth- 
er." Thus  did  the  sister,  who  had  been  tutored 
by  Periander  what  to  say,  urge  all  the  argu- 
ments most  likely  to  have  weight  with  her 
brother.  He  however  made  answer,  "That  so 
long  as  he  knew  his  father  to  be  still  alive,  he 
would  never  go  back  to  Corinth."  When  the 
sister  brought  Periander  this  reply,  he  sent  to  his 
son  a  third  time  by  a  herald,  and  said  he  would 
come  himself  to  Corcyra,  and  let  his  son  take 
his  place  at  Corinth  as  heir  to  his  kingdom.  To 
these  terms  Lycophron  agreed;  and  Periander 
was  making  ready  to  pass  into  Corcyra  and  his 
son  to  return  to  Corinth,  when  the  Corcyrae- 
ans,  being  informed  of  what  was  taking  place, 
to  keep  Periander  away,  put  the  young  man  to 
death.  For  this  reason  it  was  that  Periander 
took  vengeance  on  the  Corcyraeans. 


54.  The  Lacedaemonians  arrived  before  Sa- 
mos  with  a  mighty  armament,  and  forthwith 
laid  siege  to  the  place.  In  one  of  the  assaults 
upon  the  walls,  they  forced  their  way  to  the  top 
of  the  tower  which  stands  by  the  sea  on  the  side 
where  the  suburb  is,  but  Polycrates  came  in 
person  to  the  rescue  with  a  strong  force,  and 
beat  them  back.  Meanwhile  at  the  upper  tower, 
which  stood  on  the  ridge  of  the  hill,  the  be- 
sieged, both  mercenaries  and  Samians,  made  a 
sally;  but  after  they  had  withstood  the  Lace- 
daemonians a  short  time,  they  fled  backwards, 
and  the  Lacedaemonians,  pressing  upon  them, 
slew  numbers. 

55.  If  now  all  who  were  present  had  be- 
haved that  day  like  Archias  and  Lycopas,  two 
of  the  Lacedaemonians,  Samos  might  have  been 
taken.  For  these  two  heroes,  following  hard 
upon  the  flying  Samians,  entered  the  city  along 
with  them,  and,  being  all  alone,  and  their  re- 
treat cut  off,  were  slain  within  the  walls  of  the 
place.  I  myself  once  fell  in  with  the  grandson  of 
this  Archias,  a  man  named  Archias  like  his 
grandsire,  and  the  son  of  Samius,  whom  I  met 
at  Pitana,  to  which  canton  he  belonged.  He  re- 
spected the  Samians  beyond  all  other  foreign- 
ers, and  he  told  me  that  his  father  was  called 
Samius,  because  his  grandfather  Archias  died 
in  Samos  so  gloriously,  and  that  the  reason  why 
he  respected  the  Samians  so  greatly  was  that 
his  grandsire  was  buried  with  public  honours 
by  the  Samian  people. 

56.  The   Lacedaemonians   besieged    Samos 
during  forty  days,  but  not  making  any  progress 
before  the  place,  they  raised  the  siege  at  the 
end  of  that  time,  and  returned  home  to  the 
Peloponnese.  There  is  a  silly  tale  told  that  Poly- 
crates  struck  a  quantity  of  the  coin  of  his 
country  in  lead,  and,  coating  it  with  gold,  gave 
it  to  the  Lacedaemonians,  who  on  receiving  it 
took  their  departure. 

This  was  the  first  expedition  into  Asia  of  the 
Lacedemonian  Dorians. 

57.  The  Samians  who  had  fought  against 
Polycrates,  when  they  knew  that  the  Lacedae- 
monians were  about  to  forsake  them,  left  Sa- 
mos themselves,  and  sailed  to  Siphnos.  They 
happened  to  be  in  want  of  money;  and  the 
Siphnians  at  that  time  were  at  the  height  of 
their  greatness,  no  islanders  having  so  much 
wealth  as  they.  There  were  mines  of  gold  and 
silver  in  their  country,  and  of  so  rich  a  yield, 
that  from  a  tithe  of  the  ores  the  Siphnians 
furnished  out  a  treasury  at  Delphi  which  was 
on  a  par  with  the  grandest  there.  What  the 
mines  yielded  was  divided  year  by  year  among 


102 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK  in 


the  citizens.  At  the  time  when  they  formed  the 
treasury,  the  Siphnians  consulted  the  oracle, 
and  asked  whether  their  good  things  would  re- 
main to  them  many  years.  The  Pythoness  made 
answer  as  follows: — 

When  the  Prytanies*  seat  shines  white  in  the  island 
of  Stphnos, 

White-browed  all  the  jorum — need  then  of  a  true 
seer's  wisdom — 

Danger  will  threat  from  a  wooden  host,  and  a  her- 
ald in  scarlet. 

Now  about  this  time  the  forum  of  the  Siph- 
nians and  their  townhall  or  prytaneum  had 
been  adorned  with  Parian  marble. 

58.  The  Siphnians,  however,  were  unable 
to  understand  the  oracle,  either  at  the  time 
when  it  was  given,  or  afterwards  on  the  ar- 
rival of  the  Samians.  For  these  last  no  sooner 
came  to  anchor  off  the  island  than  they  sent 
one  of  their  vessels,  with  an  ambassage  on 
board,  to  the  city.  All  ships  in  these  early  times 
were  painted  with  vermilion;  and  this  was 
what  the  Pythoness  had  meant  when  she  told 
them  to  beware  of  danger  "from  a  wooden 
host,  and  a  herald  in  scarlet."  So  the  ambas- 
sadors came  ashore  and  besought  the  Siphnians 
to  lend  them  ten  talents;  but  the  Siphnians  re- 
fused, whereupon  the  Samians  began  to  plun- 
der their  lands.  Tidings  of  this  reached  the 
Siphnians,  who  straightway  sallied  forth  to 
save  their  crops;  then  a  battle  was  fought,  in 
which  the  Siphnians  suffered  defeat,  and  many 
of  their  number  were  cut  off  from  the  city  by 
the  Samians,  after  which  these  latter  forced  the 
Siphnians  to  give  them  a  hundred  talents. 

59.  With  this  money  they  bought  of  the 
Hermionians  the  island   of  Hydrea,  off  the 
coast  of  the  Peloponnese,  and  this  they  gave 
in  trust  to  the  Troezenians,  to  keep  for  them, 
while  they  themselves  went  on  to  Crete,  and 
founded  the  city  of  Cydonia.  They  had  not 
meant,  when  they  set  sail,  to  settle  there,  but 
only  to  drive  out  the  Zacynthians  from  the  is- 
land. However  they  rested  at  Cydonia,  where 
they  flourished  greatly  for  five  years.  It  was 
they  who  built  the  various  temples  that  may 
still  be  seen  at  that  place,  and  among  them  the 
fane  of  Dictyna.  But  in  the  sixth  year  they 
were   attacked   by  the  Eginetans,  who  beat 
them  in  a  sea-fight,  and,  with  the  help  of  the 
Cretans,  reduced  them  all  to  slavery.  The  beaks 
of  their  ships,  which  carried  the  figure  of  a 
wild  boar,  they  sawed  off,  and  laid  them  up  in 
the  temple  of  Minerva  in  Egina.  The  Egine- 
tans took  part  against  the  Samians  on  account 
of  an  ancient  grudge,  since  the  Samians  had 


first,  when  Amphicrates  was  king  of  Samos, 
made  war  on  them  and  done  great  harm  to 
their  island,  suffering,  however,  much  damage 
also  themselves.  Such  was  the  reason  which 
moved  the  Eginetans  to  make  this  attack. 

60.  I  have  dwelt  the  longer  on  the  affairs  of 
the  Samians,  because  three  of  the  greatest 
works  in  all  Greece  were  made  by  them.  One 
is  a  tunnel,  under  a  hill  one  hundred  and  fifty 
fathoms  high,  carried  entirely  through  the  base 
of  the  hill,  with  a  mouth  at  either  end.  The 
length  ot  the  cutting  is  seven  furlongs — the 
height  and  width  are  each  eight  feet.  Along  the 
whole  course  there  is  a  second  cutting,  twenty 
cubits  deep  and  three  feet  broad,  whereby 
water  is  brought,  through  pipes,  from  an 
abundant  source  into  the  city.  The  architect  of 
this  tunnel  was  Eupalinus,  son  of  Naustroph- 
us,  a  Megarian.  Such  is  the  first  of  their  great 
works;  the  second  is  a  mole  in  the  sea,  which 
goes  all  round  the  harbour,  near  twenty  fath- 
oms deep,  and  in  length  above  two  furlongs. 
The  third  is  a  temple;  the  largest  of  all  the 
temples  known  to  us,  whereof  Rhcecus,  son 
of  Phileus,  a  Samian,  was  first  architect.  Be- 
cause of  these  works  I  have  dwelt  the  longer 
on  the  affairs  of  Samos. 

6r.  While  Cambyscs,  son  of  Cyrus,  after  los- 
ing his  senses,  still  lingered  in  Egypt,  two 
Magi,  brothers,  revolted  against  him.  One  of 
them  had  been  left  in  Persia  by  Cambyses  as 
comptroller  of  his  household;  and  it  was  he 
who  began  the  revolt.  Aware  that  Smerdis 
was  dead,  and  that  his  death  was  hid  and 
known  to  few  of  the  Persians,  while  most  be- 
lieved that  he  was  still  alive,  he  laid  his  plan, 
and  made  a  bold  stroke  for  the  crown.  He  had 
a  brother — the  same  of  whom  I  spoke  before 
as  his  partner  in  the  revolt — who  happened 
greatly  to  resemble  Smerdis  the  son  of  Cyrus, 
whom  Cambyses  his  brother  had  put  to  death. 
And  not  only  was  this  brother  of  his  like 
Smerdis  in  person,  but  he  also  bore  the  self- 
same name,  to  wit  Smerdis.  Patizeithes,  the 
other  Magus,  having  persuaded  him  that  he 
would  carry  the  whole  business  through,  took 
him  and  made  him  sit  upon  the  royal  throne. 
Having  so  done,  he  sent  heralds  through  all  the 
land,  to  Egypt  and  elsewhere,  to  make  proc- 
lamation to  the  troops  that  henceforth  they 
were  to  obey  Smerdis  the  son  of  Cyrus,  and  not 
Cambyses. 

62.  The  other  heralds  therefore  made  proc- 
lamation as  they  were  ordered,  and  likewise 
the  herald  whose  place  it  was  to  proceed  into 
Egypt.  He,  when  he  reached  Agbatana  in 


58-65] 


THE  HISTORY 


103 


Syria,  finding  Cambyses  and  his  army  there, 
went  straight  into  the  middle  of  the  host,  and 
standing  forth  before  them  all,  made  the  proc- 
lamation which  Patizeithes  the  Magus  had 
commanded.  Cambyses  no  sooner  heard  him, 
than  believing  that  what  the  herald  said  was 
true,  and  imagining  that  he  had  been  betrayed 
by  Prexaspes  (who,  he  supposed,  had  not  put 
Smerdis  to  death  when  sent  into  Persia  for  that 
purpose),  he  turned  his  eyes  full  upon  Prex- 
aspes, and  said,  "Is  this  the  way,  Prexaspes, 
that  thou  didst  my  errand?"  "Oh!  my  liege,** 
answered  the  other,  "there  is  no  truth  in  the 
tidings  that  Smerdis  thy  brother  has  revolted 
against  thee,  nor  hast  thou  to  fear  in  time  to 
come  any  quarrel,  great  or  small,  with  that 
man.  With  my  own  hands  I  wrought  thy  will 
on  him,  and  with  my  own  hands  I  buried  him. 
[f  of  a  truth  the  dead  can  leave  their  graves, 
expect  Astyages  the  Mede  to  rise  and  fight 
against  thee;  but  if  the  course  of  nature  be  the 
same  as  formerly,  then  be  sure  no  ill  will  ever 
come  upon  thee  from  this  quarter.  Now,  there- 
fore, my  counsel  is  that  we  send  in  pursuit  of 
the  herald,  and  strictly  question  him  who  it 
was  that  charged  him  to  bid  us  obey  king 
Smerdis.** 

63.  When  Prexaspes  had   so  spoken,  and 
Cambyses  had  approved  his  words,  the  herald 
was  forthwith  pursued,  and  brought  back  to 
the  king.  Then  Prexaspes  said  to  him,  "Sirrah, 
thou  bear'st  us  a  message,  sayst  thou,  from 
Smerdis,  son  of  Cyrus.  Now  answer  truly,  and 
go  thy  way  scathless.  Did  Smerdis  have  thee  to 
his  presence  and  give  thee  thy  orders,  or  hadst 
thou  them  from  one  of  his  officers?**  The  her- 
ald answered,  "Truly  I  have  not  set  eyes  on 
Smerdis  son  of  Cyrus,  since  the  day  when  king 
Cambyses  led  the  Persians  into  Egypt.  The 
man  who  gave  me  my  orders  was  the  Magus 
that  Cambyses  left  in  charge  of  the  household; 
but  he  said  that  Smerdis  son  of  Cyrus  sent  you 
the  message."  In  all  this  the  herald  spoke  noth- 
ing but  the  strict  truth.  Then  Cambyses  said 
thus  to  Prexaspes: — "Thou  art  free  from  all 
blame,  Prexaspes,  since,  as  a  right  good  man, 
thou  hast  not  failed  to  do  the  thing  which  I 
:ommanded.  But  tell  me  now,  which  of  the 
Persians  can  have  taken  the  name  of  Smerdis, 
ind  revolted  from  me?**  "I  think,  my  liege,** 
tie  answered,  "that  I  apprehend  the  whole  busi- 
ness. The    men   who   have   risen   in   revolt 
against  thee  are  the  two  Magi,  Patizeithes, 
who  was  left  comptroller  of  thy  household,  and 
bis  brother,  who  is  named  Smerdis.** 

64.  Cambyses  no  sooner  heard  the  name  of 


Smerdis  than  he  was  struck  with  the  truth  of 
Prexaspes'  words,  and  the  fulfilment  of  his 
own  dream — the  dream,  I  mean,  which  he  had 
in  former  days,  when  one  appeared  to  him  in 
his  sleep  and  told  him  that  Smerdis  sate  upon 
the  royal  throne,  and  with  his  head  touched 
the  heavens.  So  when  he  saw  that  he  had  need- 
lessly slain  his  brother  Smerdis,  he  wept  and 
bewailed  his  loss:  after  which,  smarting  with 
vexation  as  he  thought  of  all  his  ill  luck,  he 
sprang  hastily  upon  his  steed,  meaning  to 
march  his  army  with  all  haste  to  Susa  against 
the  Magus.  As  he  made  his  spring,  the  button 
of  his  sword-sheath  fell  off,  and  the  bared  point 
entered  his  thigh,  wounding  him  exactly 
where  he  had  himself  once  wounded  the  Egyp- 
tian god  Apis.  Then  Cambyses,  feeling  that  he 
had  got  his  death-wound,  inquired  the  name  of 
the  place  where  he  was,  and  was  answered, 
"Agbatana."  Now  before  this  it  had  been  told 
him  by  the  oracle  at  Buto  that  he  should  end 
his  days  at  Agbatana.  He,  however,  had  under- 
stood the  Median  Agbatana,  where  all  his 
treasures  were,  and  had  thought  that  he  should 
die  there  in  a  good  old  age;  but  the  oracle 
meant  Agbatana  in  Syria.  So  when  Cambyses 
heard  the  name  of  the  place,  the  double  shock 
that  he  had  received,  from  the  revolt  of  the 
Magus  and  from  his  wound,  brought  him  back 
to  his  senses.  And  he  understood  now  the  true 
meaning  of  the  oracle,  and  said,  "Here  then 
Cambyses,  son  of  Cyrus,  is  doomed  to  die.** 

65.  At  this  time  he  said  no  more;  but  twenty 
days  afterwards  he  called  to  his  presence  all  the 
chief  Persians  who  were  with  the  army,  and 
addressed  them  as  follows: — "Persians,  needs 
must  I  tell  you  now  what  hitherto  I  have  striv- 
en with  the  greatest  care  to  keep  concealed. 
When  I  was  in  Egypt  I  saw  in  my  sleep  a  vi- 
sion, which  would  that  I  had  never  beheld!  I 
thought  a  messenger  came  to  me  from  my 
home,  and  told  me  that  Smerdis  sate  upon  the 
royal  throne,  and  with  his  head  touched  the 
heavens.  Then  I  feared  to  be  cast  from  my 
throne  by  Smerdis  my  brother,  and  I  did  what 
was  more  hasty  than  wise.  Ah!  truly,  do  what 
they  may,  it  is  impossible  for  men  to  turn  aside 
the  coming  fate.  I,  in  my  folly,  sent  Prexaspes 
to  Susa  to  put  my  brother  to  death.  So  this 
great  woe  was  accomplished,  and  I  then  lived 
without  fear,  never  imagining  that,  after  Smer- 
dis was  dead,  I  need  dread  revolt  from  any 
other.  But  herein  I  had  quite  mistaken  what 
was  about  to  happen,  and  so  I  slew  my  brother 
without  any  need,  and  nevertheless  have  lost 
my  crown.  For  it  was  Smerdis  the  Magus,  and 


104 


HERODOTUS 


[  BOOK  in 


not  Smerdis  my  brother,  of  whose  rebellion 
God  forewarned  me  by  the  vision.  The  deed  is 
done,  however,  and  Smerdis,  son  of  Cyrus,  be 
sure  is  lost  to  you.  The  Magi  have  the  royal 
power — Patizeithes,  whom  I  left  at  Susa  to 
overlook  my  household,  and  Smerdis  his  broth- 
er. There  was  one  who  would  have  been 
bound  beyond  ail  others  to  avenge  the  wrongs 
I  have  suffered  from  these  Magians,  but  he, 
alasl  has  perished  by  a  horrid  fate,  deprived  of 
life  by  those  nearest  and  dearest  to  him.  In  his 
default,  nothing  now  remains  for  me  but  to 
tell  you,  O  Persians,  what  I  would  wish  to  have 
done  after  I  have  breathed  my  last.  Therefore, 
in  the  name  of  the  gods  that  watch  over  our 
royal  house,  I  charge  you  all,  and  specially  such 
of  you  as  are  Achaemenids,  that  ye  do  not  tame- 
ly allow  the  kingdom  to  go  back  to  the  Medes. 
Recover  it  one  way  or  another,  by  force  or 
fraud;  by  fraud,  if  it  is  by  fraud  that  they  have 
seized  on  it;  by  force,  if  force  has  helped  them 
in  their  enterprise.  Do  this,  and  then  may  your 
land  bring  you  forth  fruit  abundantly,  and 
your  wives  bear  children,  and  your  herds  in- 
crease, and  freedom  be  your  portion  for  ever: 
but  do  it  not — make  no  brave  struggle  to  re- 
gain the  kingdom — and  then  my  curse  be  on 
you,  and  may  the  opposite  of  all  these  things 
happen  to  you — and  not  only  so,  but  may  you, 
one  and  all,  perish  at  the  last  by  such  a  fate  as 
mine!"  Then  Cambyses,  when  he  left  speak- 
ing, bewailed  his  whole  misfortune  from  be- 
ginning to  end. 

66.  Whereupon  the  Persians,  seeing  their 
king  weep,  rent  the  garments  that  they  had  on, 
and  uttered  lamentable  cries;  after  which,  as 
the  bone  presently  grew  carious,  and  the  limb 
gangrened,  Cambyses,  son  of  Cyrus,  died.  He 
had  reigned  in  all  seven  years  and  five  months, 
and  left  no  issue  behind  him,  male  or  female. 
The  Persians  who  had  heard  his  words,  put  no 
faith  in  anything  that  he  said  concerning  the 
Magi  having  the  royal  power;  but  believed  that 
he  spoke  out  of  hatred  towards  Smerdis,  and 
had  invented  the  tale  of  his  death  to  cause  the 
whole  Persian  race  to  rise  up  in  arms  against 
him.  Thus  they  were  convinced  that  it  was 
Smerdis  the  son  of  Cyrus  who  had  rebelled  and 
now  sate  on  the  throne.  For  Prexaspes  stoutly 
denied  that  he  had  slain  Smerdis,  since  it  was 
not  safe  for  him,  after  Cambyses  was  dead,  to 
allow  that  a  son  of  Cyrus  had  met  with  death 
at  his  hands. 

67,  Thus   then   Cambyses   died,   and   the 
Magus  now  reigned  in  security,  and  passed 
himself  off  for  Smerdis  the  son  of  Cyrus.  And 


so  went  by  the  seven  months  which  were 
wanting  to  complete  the  eighth  year  of  Cam- 
byses. His  subjects,  while  his  reign  lasted,  re- 
ceived great  benefits  from  him,  insomuch  that, 
when  he  died,  all  the  dwellers  in  Asia 
mourned  his  loss  exceedingly,  except  only  the 
Persians.  For  no  sooner  did  he  come  to  the 
throne  than  forthwith  he  sent  round  to  every 
nation  under  his  rule,  and  granted  them  free- 
dom from  war-service  and  from  taxes  for  the 
space  of  three  years. 

68.  In  the  eighth  month,  however,  it  was 
discovered  who  he  was  in  the  mode  following. 
There  was  a  man  called  Otanes,  the  son  of 
Pharnaspes,  who  for  rank  and  wealth  was 
equal  to  the  greatest  of  the  Persians.  This 
Otanes  was  the  first  to  suspect  that  the  Magus 
was  not  Smerdis  the  son  of  Cyrus,  and  to  sur- 
mise moreover  who  he  really  was.  He  was  led 
to  guess  the  truth  by  the  king  never  quitting 
the  citadel,  and  never  calling  before  him  any 
of  the  Persian  noblemen.  As  soon,  therefore,  as 
his  suspicions  were  aroused  he  adopted  the  fol- 
lowing measures: — One  of  his  daughters,  who 
was  called  Phaedima,  had  been  married  to  Cam- 
byses, and  was  taken  to  wife,  together  with  the 
rest  of  Cambyses'  wives,  by  the  Magus.  To  this 
daughter  Otanes  sent  a  message,  and  inquired 
of  her  "who  it  was  whose  bed  she  shared, — 
was  it  Smerdis  the  son  of  Cyrus,  or  was  it 
some  other  man?"  Phaedima  in  reply  declared 
she  did  not  know — Smerdis  the  son  of  Cyrus 
she  had  never  seen,  and  so  she  could  not  tell 
whose  bed  she  shared.  Upon  this  Otanes  sent 
a  second   time,  and  said,  "If  thou  dost  not 
know  Smerdis  son  of  Cyrus  thyself,  ask  queen 
Atossa  who  it  is  with  whom  ye  both  live — she 
cannot  fail  to  know  her  own  brother."  To  this 
the  daughter  made  answer,  "I  can  neither  get 
speech  with  Atossa,  nor  with  any  of  the  women 
who  lodge  in  the  palace.  For  no  sooner  did  this 
man,  be  he  who  he  may,  obtain  the  kingdom, 
than  he  parted  us  from  one  another,  and  gave 
us  all  separate  chambers." 

69.  This  made  the  matter  seem  still  more 
plain  to  Otanes.  Nevertheless  he  sent  a  third 
message  to  his  daughter  in  these  words  follow- 
ing:— "Daughter,  thou  art  of  noble  blood — 
thou  wilt  not  shrink  from  a  risk  which  thy 
father  bids  thee  encounter.  If  this  fellow  be 
not  Smerdis  the  son  of  Cyrus,  but  the  man 
whom  I  think  him  to  be,  his  boldness  in  tak- 
ing thee  to  be  his  wife,  and  lording  it  over  the 
Persians,  must  not  be  allowed  to  pass  unpun- 
ished. Now  therefore  do  as  I  command — when 
next  he  passes  the  night  with  thee,  wait  till 


66-73] 


THE  HISTORY 


105 


thou  art  sure  he  is  fast  asleep,  and  then  feel  for 
his  ears.  If  thou  findest  him  to  have  ears,  then 
believe  him  to  be  Smerdis  the  son  of  Cyrus,  but 
if  he  has  none,  know  him  for  Smerdis  the 
Magian."  Phaedima  returned  for  answer,  "It 
would  be  a  great  risk.  If  he  was  without  ears, 
and  caught  her  feeling  for  them,  she  well  knew 
he  would  make  away  with  her — nevertheless 
she  would  venture."  So  Otanes  got  his  daugh- 
ter's promise  that  she  would  do  as  he  desired. 
Now  Smerdis  the  Magian  had  had  his  ears  cut 
off  in  the  lifetime  of  Cyrus  son  of  Cambyses,  as 
a  punishment  for  a  crime  of  no  slight  heinous- 
ness.  Phaedima  therefore,  Otanes'  daughter, 
bent  on  accomplishing  what  she  had  promised 
her  father,  when  her  turn  came,  and  she  was 
taken  to  the  bed  of  the  Magus  (in  Persia  a 
man's  wives  sleep  with  him  in  their  turns), 
waited  till  he  was  sound  asleep,  and  then  felt 
for  his  ears.  She  quickly  perceived  that  he  had 
no  ears;  and  of  this,  as  soon  as  day  dawned,  she 
sent  word  to  her  father. 

70.  Then  Otanes  took  to  him  two  of  the 
chief  Persians,  Aspathmes  and  Gobryas,  men 
whom  it  was  most  advisable  to  trust  in  such  a 
matter,  and  told  them  everything.  Now  they 
had  already  of  themselves  suspected  how  the 
matter  stood.  When  Otanes  therefore  laid  his 
reasons  before  them  they  at  once  came  into  his 
views;  and  it  was  agreed  that  each  of  the  three 
should  take  as  companion  in  the  work  the 
Persian  in  whom  he  placed  the  greatest  con- 
fidence. Then  Otanes  chose  Intaphernes,  Go- 
bryas Megabyzus,  and  Aspathmes  Hydarnes. 
After  the  number  had  thus  become  six,  Darius, 
the  son  of  Hystaspes,  arrived  at  Susa  from  Per- 
sia, whereof  his  father  was  governor.  On  his 
coming  it  seemed  good  to  the  six  to  take  him 
likewise  into  their  counsels. 

71.  After  this,  the  men,  being  now  seven  in 
all,  met  together  to  exchange  oaths,  and  hold 
discourse  with   one  another.   And   when   it 
came  to  the  turn  of  Darius  to  speak  his  mind, 
he  said  as  follows: — "Methought  no  one  but  I 
knew  that  Smerdis,  the  son  of  Cyrus,  was  not 
now  alive,  and  that  Smerdis  the  Magian  ruled 
over  us;  on  this  account  I  came  hither  with 
speed,  to  compass  the  death  of  the  Magian. 
But  as  it  seems  the  matter  is  known  to  you  all, 
and  not  to  me  only,  my  judgment  is  that  we 
should  act  at  once,  and  not  any  longer  delay. 
For  to  do  so  were  not  well."  Otanes  spoke  upon 
this: — "Son  of  Hystaspes,"  said  he,  "thou  art 
the  child  of  a  brave  father,  and  seemest  likely 
to  show  thyself  as  bold  a  gallant  as  he.  Beware, 
however,  of  rash  haste  in  this  matter;  do  not 


hurry  so,  but  proceed  with  soberness.  We  must 
add  to  our  number  ere  we  adventure  to  strike 
the  blow."  "Not  so,"  Darius  rejoined;  "for  let 
all  present  be  well  assured  that  if  the  advice  of 
Otanes  guide  our  acts,  we  shall  perish  most 
miserably.  Some  one  will  betray  our  plot  to  the 
Magians  for  lucre's  sake.  Ye  ought  to  have 
kept  the  matter  to  yourselves,  and  so  made  the 
venture;  but  as  ye  have  chosen  to  take  others 
into  your  secret,  and  have  opened  the  matter  to 
me,  take  my  advice  and  make  the  attempt  to- 
day— or  if  not,  if  a  single  day  be  suffered  to 
pass  by,  be  sure  that  I  will  let  no  one  betray  me 
to  the  Magian.  I  myself  will  go  to  him,  and 
plainly  denounce  you  all." 

72.  Otanes,  when  he  saw  Darius  so  hot,  re- 
plied, "But  if  thou  wilt  force  us  to  action,  and 
not  allow  a  day's  delay,  tell  us,  I  pray  thee,  hpw 
we  shall  get  entrance  into  the  palace,  so  as  to 
set  upon  them.  Guards  are  placed  everywhere, 
as  thou  thyself  well  knowest — for  if  thou  hast 
not  seen,  at  least  thou  hast  heard  tell  of  them. 
How  are  we  to  pass  these  guards,  I  ask  thee?" 
"Otanes,"  answered  Darius,  "there  are  many 
things  easy  enough  in  act,  which  by  speech  it 
is  hard  to  explain.  There  are  also  things  con- 
cerning which  speech  is  easy,  but  no  noble  ac- 
tion follows  when  the  speech  is  done.  As  for 
these  guards,  ye  know  well  that  we  shall  not 
find  it  hard  to  make  our  way  through  them. 
Our  rank  alone  would  cause  them  to  allow  us 
to  enter — shame  and   fear  alike  forbidding 
them  to  say  us  nay.  But  besides,  I  have  the  fair- 
est plea  that  can  be  conceived  for  gaining  ad- 
mission. I  can  say  that  I  have  just  come  from 
Persia,  and  have  a  message  to  deliver  to  the 
king  from  my  father.  An  untruth  must  be 
spoken,  where  need  requires.  For  whether  men 
lie,  or  say  true,  it  is  with  one  and  the  same  ob- 
ject. Men  lie,  because  they  think  to  gain  by 
deceiving  others;  and  speak  the  truth,  because 
they  expect  to  get  something  by  their  true 
speaking,  and  to  be  trusted  afterwards  in  more 
important  matters.  Thus,  though  their  conduct 
is  so  opposite,  the  end  of  both  is  alike.  If  there 
were  no  gain  to  be  got,  your  true-speaking  man 
would  tell  untruths  as  much  as  your  liar,  and 
your  liar  would  tell  the  truth  as  much  as  your 
true-speaking  man.  The  doorkeeper,  who  lets 
us  in  readily,  shall  have  his  guerdon  some  day 
or  other;  but  woe  to  the  man  who  resists  us, 
he  must  forthwith  be  declared  an  enemy.  Forc- 
ing our  way  past  him,  we  will  press  in  and  go 
straight  to  our  work." 

73.  After  Darius  had  thus  said,  Gobryas 
spoke  as  follows: — "Dear  friends,  when  will 


106 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK  in 


a  fitter  occasion  offer  for  us  to  recover  the  king- 
dom, or,  if  we  are  not  strong  enough,  at  least 
die  in  the  attempt?  Consider  that  we  Persians 
are  governed  by  a  Median  Magus,  and  one,  too, 
who  has  had  his  ears  cut  off!  Some  of  you  were 
present  when  Cambyses  lay  upon  his  death- 
bed— such,  doubtless,  remember  what  curses 
he  called  down  upon  the  Persians  if  they  made 
no  effort  to  recover  the  kingdom.  Then,  in- 
deed, we  paid  but  little  heed  to  what  he  said, 
because  we  thought  he  spoke  out  of  hatred  to 
set  us  against  his  brother.  Now,  however,  my 
vote  is  that  we  do  as  Darius  has  counselled — 
march  straight  in  a  body  to  the  palace  from  the 
place  where  we  now  are,  and  forthwith  set 
upon  the  Magian."  So  Gobryas  spake,  and  the 
others  all  approved. 

74.  While  the  seven  were  thus  taking  coun- 
sel together,  it  so  chanced  that  the  following 
events  were  happening: — The  Magi  had  been 
thinking  what  they  had  best  do,  and  had  re- 
solved for  many  reasons  to  make  a  friend  of 
Prexaspes.  They  knew  how  cruelly  he  had 
been  outraged  by  Cambyses,  who  slew  his  son 
with  an  arrow;  they  were  also  aware  that  it 
was  by  his  hand  that  Smerdis  the  son  of  Cyrus 
fell,  and  that  he  was  the  only  person  privy  to 
that  prince's  death;  and  they  further  found 
him  to  be  held  in  the  highest  esteem  by  all  the 
Persians.  So  they  called  him  to  them,  made 
him  their  friend,  and  bound  him  by  a  promise 
and  by  oaths  to  keep  silence  about  the  fraud 
which  they  were  practising  upon  the  Persians, 
and  not  discover  it   to  any  one;  and  they 
pledged  themselves  that  in  this  case  they  would 
give  him  thousands  of  gifts  of  every  sort  and 
kind.  So  Prexaspes  agreed,  and  the  Magi,  when 
they  found  that  they  had  persuaded  him  so 
far,  went  on  to  another  proposal,  and  said  they 
would  assemble  the  Persians  at  the  foot  of  the 
palace  wall,  and  he  should  mount  one  of  the 
towers  and  harangue  them  from  it,  assuring 
them  that  Smerdis  the  son  of  Cyrus,  and  none 
but  he,  ruled  the  land.  This  they  bade  him  do, 
because  Prexaspes  was  a  man  of  great  weight 
with  his  countrymen,  and  had  often  declared 
in  public  that  Smerdis  the  son  of  Cyrus  was 
still  alive,  and  denied  being  his  murderer. 

75.  Prexaspes  said  he  was  quite  ready  to  do 
their  will  in  the  matter;  so  the  Magi  assembled 
the  people,  and  placed  Prexaspes  upon  the  top 
of  the  tower,  and  told  him  to  make  his  speech. 
Then  this  man,  forgetting  of  set  purpose  all 
that  the  Magi  had  intreated  him  to  say,  began 
with  Achaemenes,  and  traced  down  the  descent 
of  Cyrus;  after  which,  when  he  came  to  that 


king,  he  recounted  all  the  services  that  had 
been  rendered  by  him  to  the  Persians,  from 
whence  he  went  on  to  declare  the  truth,  which 
hitherto  he  had  concealed,  he  said,  because  it 
would  not  have  been  safe  for  him  to  make  it 
known,  but  now  necessity  was  laid  on  him  to 
disclose  the  whole.  Then  he  told  how,  forced 
to  it  by  Cambyses,  he  had  himself  taken  the  life 
of  Smerdis,  son  of  Cyrus,  and  how  that  Persia 
was  now  ruled  by  the  Magi.  Last  of  all,  with 
many  curses  upon  the  Persians  if  they  did  not 
recover  the  kingdom,  and  wreak  vengeance  on 
the  Magi,  he  threw  himself  headlong  from  the 
tower  into  the  abyss  below.  Such  was  the  end 
of  Prexaspes,  a  man  all  his  life  of  high  repute 
among  the  Persians. 

76.  And  now  the  seven  Persians,  having  re- 
solved that  they  would  attack  the  Magi  with- 
out more  delay,  first  offered  prayers  to  the  gods 
and  then  set  off  for  the  palace,  quite  unac- 
quainted with  what  had  been  done  by  Prexas- 
pes. The  news  of  his  doings  reached  them 
upon  their  way,  when  they  had  accomplished 
about  half  the  distance.  Hereupon  they  turned 
aside  out  of  the  road,  and  consulted  together. 
Otanes  and  his  party  said  they  must  certainly 
put  off  the  business,  and  not  make  the  attack 
when  affairs  were  in  such  a  ferment.  Darius, 
on   the    other   hand,    and   his   friends,    were 
against  any  change  of  plan,  and  wished  to  go 
straight  on,  and  not  lose  a  moment.  Now,  as 
they   strove   together,   suddenly   there   came 
in   sight  two  pairs  of  vultures,   and   seven 
pairs  of  hawks,  pursuing  them,  and  the  hawks 
tore  the  vultures  both  with  their  claws  and 
bills.  At  this  sight  the  seven  with  one  accord 
came  in  to  the  opinion  of  Darius,  and  encour- 
aged by  the  omen  hastened  on  towards  the 
palace. 

77.  At  the  gate  they  were  received  as  Darius 
had  foretold.  The  guards,  who  had  no  suspi- 
cion that  they  came  for  any  ill  purpose,  and 
held  the  chief  Persians  in  much  reverence,  let 
them  pass  without  difficulty — it  seemed  as  if 
they  were  under  the  special  protection  of  the 
gods — none  even  asked  them  any  question. 
When  they  were  now  in  the  great  court  they 
fell  in  with  certain  of  the  eunuchs,  whose  bus- 
iness it  was  to  carry  the  king's  messages,  who 
stopped  them  and  asked  what  they  wanted, 
while  at  the  same  time  they  threatened  the 
doorkeepers  for  having  let  them  enter.  The 
seven  sought  to  press  on,  but  the  eunuchs 
would  not  suffer  them.  Then  these  men,  with 
cheers  encouraging  one  another,  drew  their 
daggers,  and  stabbing  those  who  strove  to 


] 


THE  HISTORY 


107 


withstand  them,  rushed  forward  to  the  apart- 
ment of  the  males. 

78.  Now  both  the  Magi  were  at  this  time 
within,  holding  counsel  upon  the  matter  of 
Prexaspes.  So  when  they  heard  the  stir  among 
the  eunuchs,  and  their  loud  cries,  they  ran  out 
themselves,  to  see  what  was  happening.  In- 
stantly perceiving  their  danger,  they  both  flew 
to  arms;  one  had  just  time  to  seize  his  bow,  the 
other  got  hold  of  his  lance;  when  straightway 
the  fight  began.  The  one  whose  weapon  was 
the  bow  found  it  of  no  service  at  all;  the  foe 
was  too  near,  and  the  combat  too  close  to  allow 
of  his  using  it.  But  the  other  made  a  stout  de- 
fence with  his  lance,  wounding  two  of  the 
seven,  Aspathines  in  the  leg,  and  Intaphernes 
in  the  eye.  This  wound  did  not  kill  Intaphernes, 
but  it  cost  him  the  sight  of  that  eye.  The  other 
Magus,  when  he  found  his  bow  of  no  avail, 
fled  into  a  chamber  which  opened  out  into  the 
apartment  of  the  males,  intending  to  shut  to 
the  doors.  But  two  of  the  seven  entered  the 
room  with  him,  Darius  and  Gobryas.  Gobryas 
seized  the  Magus  and  grappled  with  him, 
while  Darius  stood  over  them,  not  knowing 
what  to  do;  for  it  was  dark,  and  he  was  afraid 
that  if  he  struck  a  blow  he  might  kill  Gobryas. 
Then  Gobyras,  when  he  perceived  that  Darius 
stood  doing  nothing,  asked  him,  "why  his 
hand  was  idle?"  "I  fear  to  hurt  thee,"  he 
answered.  "Fear  not,"  said  Gobryas;  "strike, 
though  it  be  through  both."  Darius  did  as  he 
desired,  drove  his  dagger  home,  and  by  good 
hap  killed  the  Magus. 

79.  Thus  were  the  Magi  slain;  and  the  seven, 
cutting  off  both  the  heads,  and  leaving  their 
own  wounded  in  the  palace,  partly  because 
they  were  disabled,  and  partly  to  guard  the  cit- 
adel, went  forth  from  the  gates  with  the  heads 
in  their  hands,  shouting  and  making  an  up- 
roar. They  called  out  to  all  the  Persians  whom 
they  met,  and  told  them  what  had  happened, 
showing  them  the  heads  of  the  Magi,  while  at 
the  same  time  they  slew  every  Magus  who  fell 
in  their  way.  Then  the  Persians,  when  they 
knew  what  the  seven  had  done,  and  under- 
stood the  fraud  of  the  Magi,  thought  it  but  just 
to  follow  the  example  set  them,  and,  drawing 
their  daggers,  they  killed  the  Magi  wherever 
they  could  find  any.  Such  was  their  fury,  that, 
unless  night  had  closed  in,  not  a  single  Magus 
would  have  been  left  alive.  The  Persians  ob- 
serve this  day  with  one  accord,  and  keep  it 
more  strictly  than  any  other  in  the  whole  year. 
It  is  then  that  they  hold  the  great  festival, 
which  they  call  the  Magophonia.  No  Magus 


may  show  himself  abroad  during  the  whole 
time  that  the  feast  lasts;  but  all  must  remain  at 
home  the  entire  day. 

80.  And  now  when  five  days  were  gone,  and 
the  hubbub  had  settled  down,  the  conspirators 
met  together  to  consult  about  the  situation  of 
affairs.  At  this  meeting  speeches  were  made,  to 
which  many  of  the  Greeks  give  no  credence, 
but  they  were  made  nevertheless.  Otanes  rec- 
ommended that  the  management  of  public  af- 
fairs should  be  entrusted  to  the  whole  nation. 
"To  me,"  he  said,  "it  seems  advisable,  that  we 
should  no  longer  have  a  single  man  to  rule 
over  us — the  rule  of  one  is  neither  good  nor 
pleasant.  Ye  cannot  have  forgotten  to  what 
lengths  Cambyses  went  in  his  haughty  tyranny, 
and  the  haughtiness  of  the  Magi  ye  have  your- 
selves experienced.  How  indeed  is  it  possible 
that  monarchy  should  be  a  well-adjusted  thing, 
when  it  allows  a  man  to  do  as  he  likes  without 
being  answerable?  Such  licence  is  enough  to 
stir  strange  and  unwonted  thoughts  in  the 
heart  of  the  worthiest  of  men.  Give  a  person 
this  power,  and  straightway  his  manifold  good 
things  puff  him  up  with  pride,  while  envy  is 
so  natural  to  human  kind  that  it  cannot  but 
arise  in  him.  But  pride  and  envy  together  in- 
clude all  wickedness — both  of  them  leading  on 
to  deeds  of  savage  violence.  True  it  is  that 
kings,  possessing  as  they  do  all  that  heart  can  de- 
sire, ought  to  be  void  of  envy;  but  the  contrary 
is  seen  in  their  conduct  towards  the  citizens. 
They  are  jealous  of  the  most  virtuous  among 
their  subjects,  and  wish  their  death;  while  they 
take  delight  in  the  meanest  and  basest,  being 
ever  ready  to  listen  to  the  tales  of  slanderers.  A 
king,  besides,  is  beyond  all  other  men  incon- 
sistent with  himself.  Pay  him  court  in  modera- 
tion, and  he  is  angry  because  you  do  not  show 
him  more  profound  respect — show  him  pro- 
found respect,  and  he  is  offended  again,  be- 
cause (as  he  says)  you  fawn  on  him.  But  the 
worst  of  all  is,  that  he  sets  aside  the  laws  of  the 
land,  puts  men  to  death  without  trial,  and  sub- 
jects women  to  violence.  The  rule  of  the  many, 
on  the  other  hand,  has,  in  the  first  place,  the 
fairest  of  names,  to  wit,  isonomy;  and  further 
it  is  free  from  all  those  outrages  which  a  king 
is  wont  to  commit.  There,  places  are  given  by 
lot,  the  magistrate  is  answerable  for  what  he 
does,  and  measures  rest  with  the  commonalty. 
I  vote,  therefore,  that  we  do  away  with  mon- 
archy, and  raise  the  people  to  power.  For  the 
people  are  all  in  all." 

81.  Such  were  the  sentiments  of  Otancs« 
Megabyzus  spoke  next,  and  advised  the  setting 


108 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK  m 


up  of  an  oligarchy: — "In  all  that  Otancs  has 
said  to  persuade  you  to  put  down  monarchy," 
he  observed,  "I  fully  concur;  but  his  recom- 
mendation that  we  should  call  the  people  to 
power  seems  to  me  not  the  best  advice.  For 
there  is  nothing  so  void  of  understanding, 
nothing  so  full  of  wantonness,  as  the  unwieldy 
rabble.  It  were  folly  not  to  be  borne,  for  men, 
while  seeking  to  escape  the  wantonness  of  a 
tyrant,  to  give  themselves  up  to  the  wanton- 
ness of  a  rude  unbridled  mob.  The  tyrant,  in 
all  his  doings,  at  least  knows  what  is  he  about, 
but  a  mob  is  altogether  devoid  of  knowledge; 
for  how  should  there  be  any  knowledge  in  a 
rabble,  untaught,  and  with  no  natural  sense  of 
what  is  right  and  fit?  It  rushes  wildly  into  state 
affairs  with  all  the  fury  of  a  stream  swollen  in 
the  winter,  and  confuses  everything.  Let  the 
enemies  of  the  Persians  be  ruled  by  democra- 
cies; but  let  us  choose  out  from  the  citizens  a 
certain  number  of  the  worthiest,  and  put  the 
government  into  their  hands.  For  thus  both  we 
ourselves  shall  be  among  the  governors,  and 
power  being  entrusted  to  the  best  men,  it  is 
likely  that  the  best  counsels  will  prevail  in  the 
state." 

82.  This  was  the  advice  which  Megabyzus 
gave,  and  after  him  Darius  came  forward,  and 
spoke  as  follows: — "All  that  Megabyzus  said 
against  democracy  was  well  said,  I  think;  but 
about  oligarchy  he  did  not  speak  advisedly;  for 
take  these  three  forms  of  government — democ- 
racy, oligarchy,  and  monarchy — and  let  them 
each  be  at  their  best,  I  maintain  that  monarchy 
far  surpasses  the  other  two.  What  government 
can  possibly  be  better  than  that  of  the  very  best 
man  in  the  whole  state?  The  counsels  of  such 
a  man  are  like  himself,  and  so  he  governs  the 
mass  of  the  people  to  their  heart's  content; 
while  at  the  same  time  his  measures  against 
evil-doers  are  kept  more  secret  than  in  other 
states.  Contrariwise,  in  oligarchies,  where  men 
vie  with  each  other  in  the  service  of  the  com- 
monwealth, fierce  enmities  are  apt  to  arise  be- 
tween man  and  man,  each  wishing  to  be  lead- 
er, and  to  carry  his  own  measures;  whence  vio- 
lent quarrels  come,  which  lead  to  open  strife, 
often  ending  in  bloodshed.  Then  monarchy  is 
sure  to  follow;  and  this  too  shows  how  far  that 
rule  surpasses  all  others.  Again,  in  a  democra- 
cy, it  is  impossible  but  that  there  will  be  mal- 
practices: these  malpractices,  however,  do  not 
lead  to  enmities,  but  to  close  friendships, 
which  are  formed  among  those  engaged  in 
them,  who  must  hold  well  together  to  carry  on 
their  villainies.  And  so  things  go  on  until  a 


man  stands  forth  as  champion  of  the  common- 
alty, and  puts  down  the  evil-doers.  Straight- 
way the  author  of  so  great  a  service  is  admired 
by  all,  and  from  being  admired  soon  comes  to 
be  appointed  king;  so  that  here  too  it  is  plain 
that  monarchy  is  the  best  government.  Lastly, 
to  sum  up  all  in  a  word,  whence,  I  ask,  was  it 
that  we  got  the  freedom  which  we  enjoy? — 
did  democracy  give  it  us,  or  oligarchy,  or  a 
monarch?  As  a  single  man  recovered  our  free- 
dom for  us,  my  sentence  is  that  we  keep  to  the 
rule  of  one.  Even  apart  from  this,  we  ought  not 
to  change  the  laws  of  our  forefathers  when  they 
work  fairly;  for  to  do  so  is  not  well." 

83.  Such  were  the  three  opinions  brought 
forward  at  this  meeting;  the  four  other  Per- 
sians voted  in  favour  of  the  last.  Otanes,  who 
wished  to  give  his  countrymen  a  democracy, 
when  he  found  the  decision  against  him,  arose 
a  second  time,  and  spoke  thus  before  the  as- 
sembly:— "Brother  conspirators,  it  is  plain  that 
the  king  who  is  to  be  chosen  will  be  one  of  our- 
selves, whether  we  make  the  choice  by  casting 
lots  for  the  prize,  or  by  letting  the  people  de- 
cide which  of  us  they  will  have  to  rule  over 
them,  in  or  any  other  way.  Now,  as  I  have 
neither  a  mind  to  rule  nor  to  be  ruled,  I  shall 
not  enter  the  lists  with  you  in  this  matter.  I 
withdraw,  however,  on  one  condition — none  of 
you  shall  claim  to  exercise  rule  over  me  or  my 
seed  for  ever."  The  six  agreed  to  these  terms, 
and  Otancs  withdraw  and  stood  aloof  from 
the  contest.  And  still  to  this  day  the  family  of 
Otanes  continues  to  be  the  only  free  family  in 
Persia;  those  who  belong  to  it  submit  to  the 
rule  of  the  king  only  so  far  as  they  themselves 
choose;  they  are  bound,  however,  to  observe 
the  laws  of  the  land  like  the  other  Persians. 

84.  After  this  the  six  took  counsel  together, 
as  to  the  fairest  way  of  setting  up  a  king:  and 
first,  with  respect  to  Otanes,  they  resolved,  that 
if  any  ot  their  own  number  got  the  kingdom, 
Otanes  and  his  seed  after  him  should  receive 
year  by  year,  as  a  mark  of  special  honour,  a 
Median  robe,  and  all  such  other  gifts  as  are  ac- 
counted the  most  honourable  in  Persia.  And 
these  they  resolved  to  give  him,  because  he  was 
the  man  who  first  planned  the  outbreak,  and 
who  brought  the  seven  together.  These  privi- 
leges, therefore,   were   assigned    specially   to 
Otanes.  The  following  were  made  common  to 
them  all: — It  was  to  be  free  to  each,  whenever 
he  pleased,  to  enter  the  palace  unannounced, 
unless  the  king  were  in  the  company  of  one  of 
his  wives;  and  the  king  was  to  be  bound  to 
marry  into  no  family  excepting  those  of  the 


82-89] 


THE  HISTORY 


109 


conspirators.  Concerning  the  appointment  of 
a  king,  the  resolve  to  which  they  came  was  the 
following: — They  would  ride  out  together 
next  morning  into  the  skirts  of  the  city,  and  he 
whose  steed  first  neighed  after  the  sun  was  up 
should  have  the  kingdom. 

85.  Now  Darius  had  a  groom,  a  sharp-wit- 
ted knave,  called  CEbares.  After  the  meeting 
had  broken  up,  Darius  sent  for  him,  and  said, 
"CEbares,  this  is  the  way  in  which  the  king  is 
to  be  chosen — we  are  to  mount  our  horses,  and 
the  man  whose  horse  first  neighs  after  the  sun 
is  up  is  to  have  the  kingdom.  If  then  you  have 
any  cleverness,  contrive  a  plan  whereby  the 
prize  may  fall  to  us,  and  not  go  to  another." 
"Truly,  master,"  CEbares  answered,  "if  it  de- 
pends on  this  whether  thou  shalt  be  king  or  no, 
set  thine  heart  at  ease,  and  fear  nothing:  I 
have  a  charm  which  is  sure  not  to  fail."  "If 
thou  hast  really  aught  of  the  kind,"  said  Dari- 
us, "hasten  to  get  it  ready.  The  matter  does 
not  brook  delay,  for  the  trial  is  to  be  to-mor- 
row." So  CEbares  when  he  heard  that,  did  as 
follows: — When  night  came,  he  took  one  of 
the  mares,  the  chief  favourite  of  the  horse 
which  Darius  rode,  and  tethering  it  in  the  sub- 
urb, brought  his  master's  horse  to  the  place; 
then,  after  leading  him  round  and  round  the 
mare  several  times,  nearer  and  nearer  at  each 
circuit,  he  ended  by  letting  them  come  togeth- 
er. 

86.  And  now,  when  the  morning  broke,  the 
six  Persians,  according  to  agreement,  met  to- 
gether on  horseback,  and  rode  out  to  the  sub- 
urb. As  they  went  along  they  neared  the  spot 
where  the  mare  was  tethered  the  night  before, 
whereupon  the  horse  of  Darius  sprang  for- 
ward and  neighed.  Just  at  the  same  time, 
though  the  sky  was  clear  and  bright,  there  was 
a  flash  of  lightning,  followed  by  a  thunder- 
clap. It  seemed  as  if  the  heavens  conspired  with 
Darius,  and  hereby  inaugurated  him  king:  so 
the  five  other  nobles  leaped  with  one  accord 
from  their  steeds,  and  bowed  down  before  him 
and  owned  him  for  their  king. 

87.  This  is  the  account  which  some  of  the 
Persians  gave  of  the  contrivance  of  CEbares; 
but  there  are  others  who  relate  the  matter  dif- 
ferently. They  say  that  in  the  morning  he 
stroked  the  mare  with  his  hand,  which  he  then 
hid  in  his  trousers  until  the  sun  rose  and  the 
horses  were  about  to  start,  when  he  suddenly 
drew  his  hand  forth  and  put  it  to  the  nostrils 
of  his  master's  horse,  which  immediately  snort- 
ed and  neighed. 

88.  Thus  was  Darius,  son  of  Hystaspes,  ap- 


pointed king;  and,  except  the  Arabians,  all  they 
of  Asia  were  subject  to  him;  for  Cyrus,  and 
after  him  Cambyses,  had  brought  them  all  un- 
der. The  Arabians  were  never  subject  as  slaves 
to  the  Persians,  but  had  a  league  of  friendship 
with  them  from  the  time  when  they  brought 
Cambyses  on  his  way  as  he  went  into  Egypt; 
for  had  they  been  unfriendly  the  Persians 
could  never  have  made  their  invasion. 

And  now  Darius  contracted  marriages  of  the 
first  rank,  according  to  the  notions  of  the  Per- 
sians: to  wit,  with  two  daughters  of  Cyrus, 
Atossa  and  Artystone;  of  whom,  Atossa  had 
been  twice  married  before,  once  to  Cambyses, 
her  brother,  and  once  to  the  Magus,  while  the 
other,  Artystone,  was  a  virgin.  He  married  also 
Parmys,  daughter  of  Smerdis,  son  of  Cyrus; 
and  he  likewise  took  to  wife  the  daughter  of 
Otanes,  who  had  made  the  discovery  about  the 
Magus.  And  now  when  his  power  was  estab- 
lished firmly  throughout  all  the  kingdoms,  the 
first  thing  that  he  did  was  to  set  up  a  carving 
in  stone,  which  showed  a  man  mounted  upon 
a  horse,  with  an  inscription  in  these  words  fol- 
lowing:— "Darius,  son  of  Hystaspes,  by  aid  of 
his  good  horse"  (here  followed  the  horse's 
name),  "and  of  his  good  groom  CEbares,  got 
himself  the  kingdom  of  the  Persians." 

89.  This  he  set  up  in  Persia;  and  afterwards 
he  proceeded  to  establish  twenty  governments 
of  the  kind  which  the  Persians  call  satrapies, 
assigning  to  each  its  governor,  and  fixing  the 
tribute  which  was  to  be  paid  him  by  the  sev- 
eral nations.  And  generally  he  joined  together  in 
one  satrapy  the  nations  that  were  neighbours, 
but  sometimes  he  passed  over  the  nearer  tribes, 
and  put  in  their  stead  those  which  were  more 
remote.  The  following  is  an^pcount  of  these 
governments,  and  of  the  yearly  tribute  which 
they  paid  to  the  king: — Such  as  brought  their 
tribute  in  silver  were  ordered  to  pay  according 
to  the  Babylonian  talent;  while  the  Euboic  was 
the  standard  measure  for  such  as  brought  gold. 
Now  the  Babylonian  talent  contains  seventy 
Euboic  minac.1  During  all  the  reign  of  Cyrus, 
and  afterwards  when  Cambyses  ruled,  there 
were  no  fixed  tributes,  but  the  nations  several- 
ly brought  gifts  to  the  king.  On  account  of  this 

Standards  of  weight  probably  passed  into 
Greece  from  Asia,  when  the  word  mina  (M*^) 
seems  certainly  to  have  been  derived.  That  the 
standard  known  to  the  Greeks  as  the  Euboic  was 
an  Asiatic  one,  is  plain  from  this  passage.  If  the 
(later)  Attic  talent  was  worth  ^243  155.,  the  Eu- 
boic (silver)  talent  would  be  £250  8s.  5d.,  and  the 
Babylonian  ^292  3s-  3d* 


110 


HERODOTUS 


[BooK  m 


and  other  like  doings,  the  Persians  say  that 
Darius  was  a  huckster,  Cambyses  a  master,  and 
Cyrus  a  father;  for  Darius  looked  to  making  a 
gain  in  everything;  Cambyses  was  harsh  and 
reckless;  while  Cyrus  was  gentle,  and  pro- 
cured them  all  manner  of  goods. 

90.  The  lonians,  the  Magnesians  of  Asia, 
the  jEolians,  the  Carians,  the  Lycians,  the  Mily- 
ans,  and  the  Pamphylians,  paid  their  tribute 
in  a  single  sum,  which  was  fixed  at  four  hun- 
dred talents  of  silver.  These  formed  together 
the  first  satrapy. 

The  Mysians,  Lydians,  Lasonians,  Cabalians, 
and  Hygennians  paid  the  sum  of  five  hundred 
talents.  This  was  the  second  satrapy. 

The  Hellespontians,  of  the  right  coast  as  one 
enters  the  straits,  the  Phrygians,  the  Asiatic 
Thracians,  the  Paphlagonians,  the  Mariandy- 
nians,  and  the  Syrians  paid  a  tribute  of  three 
hundred  and  sixty  talents.  This  was  the  third 
satrapy. 

The  Cilicians  gave  three  hundred  and  sixty 
white  horses,  one  for  each  day  in  the  year,  and 
five  hundred  talents  of  silver.  Of  this  sum  one 
hundred  and  forty  talents  went  to  pay  the  cav- 
alry which  guarded  the  country,  while  the 
remaining  three  hundred  and  sixty  were  re- 
ceived by  Darius.  This  was  the  fourth  satrapy. 

91.  The  country  reaching  from  the  city  of 
Posideium  (built  by  Amphilochus,  son  of  Am- 
phiaraiis,  on  the  confines  of  Syria  and  Cilicia) 
to  the  borders  of  Egypt,  excluding  therefrom 
a  district  which  belonged  to  Arabia  and  was 
free  from  tax,  paid  a  tribute  of  three  hundred 
and  fifty  talents.  All  Phoenicia,  Palestine  Syria, 
and  Cyprus,  were  herein  contained.  This  was 
the  fifth  satrapy. 

From  Egypt,  nd  the  neighbouring  parts  of 
Libya,  together  with  the  towns  of  Cyrene  and 
Barca,  which  belonged  to  the  Egyptian  satrapy, 
the  tribute  which  came  in  was  seven  hundred 
talents.  These  seven  hundred  talents  did  not 
include  the  profits  of  the  fisheries  of  Lake  Mce- 
ris,  nor  the  corn  furnished  to  the  troops  at 
Memphis.  Corn  was  supplied  to  120,000  Per- 
sians, who  dwelt  at  Memphis  in  the  quarter 
called  the  White  Castle,  and  to  a  number  of 
auxiliaries.  This  was  the  sixth  satrapy. 

The  Sattagydians,  the  Gandarians,  the  Da- 
dicae,  and  the  Aparytae,  who  were  all  reckoned 
together,  paid  a  tribute  of  a  hundred  and  sev- 
enty talents.  This  was  the  seventh  satrapy. 

Susa,  and  the  other  parts  of  Cissia,  paid  three 
hundred  talents.  This  was  the  eighth  satrapy. 

92.  From  Babylonia,  and  the  rest  of  Assyria, 
were  drawn  a  thousand  talents  of  silver,  and 


five  hundred  boy-eunuchs.  This  was  the  ninth 
satrapy. 

Agbatana,  and  the  other  parts  of  Media,  to- 
gether with  the  Paricanians  and  Orthocory- 
bantes,  paid  in  all  four  hundred  and  fifty  tal- 
ents. This  was  the  tenth  satrapy. 

The  Caspians,  Pausicae,  Pantimathi,  and 
Daritae,  were  joined  in  one  government,  and 
paid  the  sum  of  two  hundred  talents.  This  was 
the  eleventh  satrapy. 

From  the  Bactrian  tribes  as  far  as  the  ^gli, 
the  tribute  received  was  three  hundred  and 
sixty  talents.  This  was  the  twelfth  satrapy. 

93.  From  Pactyi'ca,  Armenia,  and  the  coun- 
tries reaching  thence  to  the  Euxine,  the  sum 
drawn  was  four  hundred  talents.  This  was  the 
thirteenth  satrapy. 

The  Sagartians,  Sarangians,  Thamana^ans, 
Utians,  and  Mycians,  together  with  the  inhab- 
itants of  the  islands  in  the  Erythraean  sea, 
where  the  king  sends  those  whom  he  banishes, 
furnished  altogether  a  tribute  of  six  hundred 
talents.  This  was  the  fourteenth  satrapy. 

The  Sacans  and  Caspians  gave  two  hun- 
dred and  fifty  talents.  This  was  the  fifteenth 
satrapy. 

The  Parthians,  Chorasmians,  Sogdians,  and 
Anans,  gave  three  hundred.  This  was  the  six- 
teenth satrapy. 

94.  The  Paricanians  and  Ethiopians  of  Asia 
furnished  a  tribute  of  four  hundred  talents. 
This  was  the  seventeenth  satrapy. 

The  Matienians,  Saspeires,  and  Alarodians 
were  rated  to  pay  two  hundred  talents.  This 
was  the  eighteenth  satrapy. 

The  Moschi,  Tibareni,  Macrones,  Mosynceci, 
and  Mares  had  to  pay  three  hundred  talents. 
This  was  the  nineteenth  satrapy. 

The  Indians,  who  are  more  numerous  than 
any  other  nation  with  which  we  are  acquaint- 
ed, paid  a  tribute  exceeding  that  of  every  other 
people,  to  wit,  three  hundred  and  sixty  talents 
of  gold-dust.  This  was  the  twentieth  satrapy. 

95.  If  the  Babylonian  money  here  spoken  of 
be  reduced  to  the  Euboic  scale,  it  will  make 
nine  thousand  five  hundred  and  forty  such  tal- 
ents; and  if  the  gold  be  reckoned  at  thirteen 
times  the  worth  of  silver,  the  Indian  gold-dust 
will  come  to  four  thousand  six  hundred  and 
eighty  talents.  Add  these  two  amounts  togeth- 
er and  the  whole  revenue  which  came  in  to 
Darius   year  by  year  will   be  found   to  be 
in  Euboic  money  fourteen  thousand  five  hun- 
dred and  sixty  talents,  not  to  mention  parts  of 
a  talent. 

96.  Such  was  the  revenue  which  Darius  de- 


90-102] 

rived  from  Asia  and  a  small  part  of  Libya.  La- 
ter in  his  reign  the  sum  was  increased  by  the 
tribute  of  the  islands,  and  of  the  nations  of  Eu- 
rope as  far  as  Thessaly.  The  Great  King  stores 
away  the  tribute  which  he  receives  after  this 
fashion — he  melts  it  down,  and,  while  it  is  in 
a  liquid  state,  runs  it  into  earthen  vessels, 
which  are  afterwards  removed,  leaving  the 
metal  in  a  solid  mass.  When  money  is  wanted, 
he  coins  as  much  of  this  bullion  as  the  occasion 
requires. 

97.  Such  then  were  the  governments,  and 
such  the  amounts  of  tribute  at  which  they  were 
assessed  respectively.  Persia  alone  has  not  been 
reckoned  among  the  tributaries — and  for  this 
reason,  because  the  country  of  the  Persians  is 
altogether  exempt  from  tax.  The  following 
peoples  paid  no  settled  tribute,  but  brought 
gifts  to  the  king:  first,  the  Ethiopians  border- 
ing upon  Egypt,  who  were  reduced  by  Cam- 
byses  when  he  made  war  on  the  long-lived  Ethi- 
opians, and  who  dwell  about  the  sacred  city 
of  Nysa,  and  have  festivals  in  honour  of  Bac- 
chus. The  grain  on  which  they  and  their  next 
neighbours  feed  is  the  same  as  that  used  by  the 
Calantian  Indians.  Their  dwelling-houses  are 
under  ground.  Every  third  year  these  two  na- 
tions brought — and  they  still  bring  to  my  day 
— two  choenices1  of  virgin  gold,  two  hundred 
logs  of  ebony,  five  Ethiopian  boys,  and  twenty 
elephant  tusks.  The  Colchians,  and  the  neigh- 
bouring tribes  who  dwell  between  them  and 
the  Caucasus — for  so  far  the  Persian  rule  reach- 
es, while  north  of  the  Caucasus  no  one  fears 
them  any  longer — undertook  to  furnish  a  gift, 
which  in  my  day  was  still  brought  every  fifth 
year,  consisting  of  a  hundred  boys,  and  the 
same  number  of  maidens.  The  Arabs  brought 
every  year  a  thousand  talents  of  frankincense. 
Such  were  the  gifts  which  the  king  received 
over  and  above  the  tribute-money. 

98.  The  way  in  which  the  Indians  get  the 
plentiful  supply  of  gold  which  enables  them 
to  furnish  year  by  year  so  vast  an  amount  of 
gold-dust  to  the  king,  is  the  following: — east- 
ward of  India  lies  a  tract  which  is  entirely 
sand.  Indeed  of  all  the  inhabitants  of  Asia,  con- 
cerning whom  anything  certain  is  known,  the 
Indians  dwell  the  nearest  to  the  east,  and  the 
rising  of  the  sun.  Beyond  them  the  whole 
country  is  desert  on  account  of  the  sand.  The 
tribes  of  Indians  are  numerous,  and  do  not  all 
speak  the  same  language — some  are  wandering 
tribes,  others  not.  They   who  dwell   in  the 
marshes  along  the  river  live  on  raw  fish,  which 

1  About  two  quarts. 


THE  HISTORY 


111 


they  take  in  boats  made  of  reeds,  each  formed 
out  of  a  single  joint.  These  Indians  wear  a 
dress  of  sedge,  which  they  cut  in  the  river  and 
bruise;  afterwards  they  weave  it  into  mats,  and 
wear  it  as  we  wear  a  breast-plate. 

99.  Eastward  of  these  Indians  are  another 
tribe,  called  Padaeans,  who  are  wanderers,  and 
live  on  raw  flesji.  This  tribe  is  said  to  have  the 
following  customs: — If  one  of  their  number 
be  ill,  man  or  woman,  they  take  the  sick  per- 
son, and  if  he  be  a  man,  the  men  of  his  acquaint- 
ance proceed  to  put  him  to  death,  because, 
they  say,  his  flesh  would  be  spoilt  for  them  if 
he  pined  and  wasted  away  with  sickness.  The 
man  protests  he  is  not  ill  in  the  least;  but  his 
friends  will  not  accept  his  denial — in  spite  of 
all  he  can  say,  they  kill  him,  and  feast  them- 
selves on  his  body.  So  also  if  a  woman  be  sick, 
the  women,  who  are  her  friends,  take  her  and 
do  with  her  exactly  the  same  as  the  men.  If  one 
of  them  reaches  to  old  age,  about  which  there 
is  seldom  any  question,  as  commonly  before 
that  time  they  have  had  some  disease  or  other, 
and  so  have  been  put  to  death — but  if  a  man, 
notwithstanding,  comes  to  be  old,  then  they 
ofTer  him  in  sacrifice  to  their  gods,  and  after- 
wards eat  his  flesh. 

100.  There  is  another  set  of  Indians  whose 
customs  are  very  different.  They  refuse  to  put 
any  live  animal  to  death,  they  sow  no  corn,  and 
have  no  dwelling-houses.  Vegetables  are  their 
only  food.  There  is  a  plant  which  grows  wild 
in  their  country,  bearing  seed,  about  the  size 
of  millet-seed,  in  a  calyx:  their  wont  is  to  gath- 
er this  seed  and  having  boiled  it,  calyx  and 
all,  to  use  it  for  food.  If  one  of  them  is  attacked 
with  sickness,  he  goes  forth  into  the  wilderness, 
and  lies  down  to  die;  no  one  has  the  least  con- 
cern either  for  the  sick  or  for  the  dead. 

101.  All  the  tribes  which  I  have  mentioned 
live  together  like  the  brute  beasts:  they  have 
also  all  the  same  tint  of  skin,  which  approaches 
that  of  the  Ethiopians.  Their  country  is  a  long 
way  from  Persia  towards  the  south:  nor  had 
king  Darius  ever  any  authority  over  them. 

102.  Besides  these,  there  are  Indians  of  an- 
other tribe,  who  border  on  the  city  of  Caspaty- 
rus,  and  the  country  of  Pactyica;  these  people 
dwell  northward  of  all  the  rest  of  the  Indians, 
and  follow  nearly  the  same  mode  of  life  as  the 
Bactrians.  They  are  more  warlike  than  any  of 
the  other  tribes,  and  from  them  the  men  are 
sent  forth  who  go  to  procure  the  gold.  For  it  is 
in  this  part  of  India  that  the  sandy  desert  lies. 
Here,  in  this  desert,  there  live  amid  the  sand 
great  ants,  in  size  somewhat  less  than  dogs, 


112 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK  in 


but  bigger  than  foxes.  The  Persian  king  has  a 
number  of  them,  which  have  been  caught  by 
the  hunters  in  the  land  whereof  we  are  speak- 
ing. Those  ants  make  their  dwellings  under 
ground,  and  like  the  Greek  ants,  which  they 
very  much  resemble  in  shape,  throw  up  sand- 
heaps  as  they  burrow.  Now  the  sand  which 
they  throw  up  is  full  of  golcj.  The  Indians, 
when  they  go  into  the  desert  to  collect  this 
sand,  take  three  camels  and  harness  them  to- 
gether, a  female  in  the  middle  and  a  male  on 
either  side,  in  a  leading-rein.  The  rider  sits  on 
the  female,  and  they  are  particular  to  choose 
for  the  purpose  one  that  has  but  just  dropped 
her  young;  for  their  female  camels  can  run  as 
fast  as  horses,  while  they  bear  burthens  very 
much  better. 

103.  As  the  Greeks  are  well  acquainted  with 
the  shape  of  the  camel,  I  shall  not  trouble  to 
describe  it;  but  I  shall  mention  what  seems  to 
have  escaped  their  notice.  The  camel  has  in  its 
hind  legs  four  thigh-bones  and  four  knee- 
joints.1 

104.  When  the  Indians  therefore  have  thus 
equipped  themselves  they  set  off  in  quest  of 
the  gold,  calculating  the  time  so  that  they  may 
be  engaged  in  seizing  it  during  the  most  sultry 
part  of  the  day,  when  the  ants  hide  themselves 
to  escape  the  heat.  The  sun  in  those  parts  shines 
fiercest  in  the  morning,  not,  as  elsewhere,  at 
noonday;  the  greatest  heat  is  from  the  time 
when  he  has  reached  a  certain  height,  until  the 
hour  at  which  the  market  closes.  During  this 
space  he  burns  much  more  furiously  than  at 
midday  in  Greece,  so  that  the  men  there  are 
said  at  that  time  to  drench  themselves  with 
water.  At  noon  his  heat  is  much  the  same  in 
India  as  in  other  countries,  after  which,  as  the 
day  declines,  the  warmth  is  only  equal  to  that 
of  the  morning  sun  elsewhere.  Towards  eve- 
ning the  coolness  increases,  till  about  sunset  it 
becomes  very  cold. 

105.  When    the   Indians    reach    the   place 
where  the  gold  is,  they  fill  their  bags  with  the 
sand,  and  ride  away  at  their  best  speed:  the 
ants,  however,  scenting  them,  as  the  Persians 
say,  rush  forth  in  pursuit.  Now  these  animals 
are,  they  declare,  so  swift,  that  there  is  nothing 
in  the  world  like  them:  if  it  were  not,  there- 
fore, that  the  Indians  get  a  start  while  the  ants 
are  mustering,  not  a  single  gold-gatherer  could 

1  This  is  of  course  untrue,  and  it  is  difficult  to 
understand  how  Herodotus  could  entertain  such  a 
notion.  There  is  no  real  difference,  as  regards  the 
anatomy  of  the  leg,  between  the  horse  and  the 
camel. 


escape.  During  the  flight  the  male  camels, 
which  are  not  so  fleet  as  the  females,  grow 
tired,  and  begin  to  drag,  first  one,  and  then  the 
other;  but  the  females  recollect  the  young 
which  they  have  left  behind,  and  never  give 
way  or  flag.  Such,  according  to  the  Persians,  is 
the  manner  in  which  the  Indians  get  the  great- 
er part  of  their  gold;  some  is  dug  out  of  the 
earth,  but  of  this  the  supply  is  more  scanty. 

106.  It  seems  as  if  the  extreme  regions  of  the 
earth  were  blessed  by  nature  with  the  most  ex- 
cellent productions,  just  in  the  same  way  that 
Greece  enjoys  a  climate  more  excellently  tem- 
pered than  any  other  country.  In  India,  which, 
as  I  observed  lately,  is  the  furthest  region  of  the 
inhabited  world  towards  the  east,  all  the  four- 
footed  beasts  and  the  birds  are  very  much  big- 
ger than  those  found  elsewhere,  except  only  the 
horses,  which  are  surpassed   by  the  Median 
breed  called  the  Nissan.  Gold  too  is  produced 
there  in  vast  abundance,  some  dug  from  the 
earth,  some  washed  down  by  the  rivers,  some 
carried  off  in  the  mode  which  I  have  but  now 
described.  And  further,  there  are  trees  which 
grow  wild  there,  the  fruit  whereof  is  a  wool 
exceeding   in   beauty   and   goodness   that   of 
sheep.  The  natives  make  their  clothes  of  this 
tree- wool. 

107.  Arabia  is  the  last  of  inhabited  lands  to- 
wards the  south,  and  it  is  the  only  country 
which  produces  frankincense,  myrrh,  cassia, 
cinnamon,  and  ledanum.  The  Arabians  do  not 
get  any  of  these,  except  the  myrrh,  without 
trouble.  The  frankincense    they  procure  by 
means  of  the  gum  styrax,  which  the  Greeks  ob- 
tain from  the  Phoenicians;  this  they  burn,  and 
thereby  obtain  the  spice.  For  the  trees  which 
bear  the  frankincense  are  guarded  by  winged 
serpents,  small  in  size,  and  of  varied  colours, 
whereof  vast  numbers  hang  about  every  tree. 
They  are  of  the  same  kind  as  the  serpents  that 
invade  Egypt;  and  there  is  nothing  but  the 
smoke  of  the  styrax  which  will  drive  them 
from  the  trees. 

108.  The  Arabians  say  that  the  whole  world 
would  swarm  with  these  serpents,  if  they  were 
not  kept  in  check  in  the  way  in  which  I  know 
that  vipers  are.  Of  a  truth  Divine  Providence 
does  appear  to  be,  as  indeed  one  might  expect 
beforehand,  a  wise  contriver.  For  timid  ani- 
mals which  are  a  prey  to  others  are  all  made 
to  produce  young  abundantly,  that  so  the  spe- 
cies may  not  be  entirely  eaten  up  and  lost; 
while  savage  and  noxious  creatures  are  made 
very  unfruitful.  The  hare,  for  instance,  which 
is  hunted  alike  by  beasts,  birds,  and  men, 


103-114] 


THE  HISTORY 


113 


breeds  so  abundantly  as  even  to  superfetate,  a 
thing  which  is  true  of  no  other  animal.  You 
find  in  a  hare's  belly,  at  one  and  the  same  time, 
some  of  the  young  all  covered  with  fur,  others 
quite  naked,  others  again  just  fully  formed  in 
the  womb,  while  the  hare  perhaps  has  lately 
conceived  afresh.  The  lioness,  on  the  other 
hand,  which  is  one  of  the  strongest  and  boldest 
of  brutes,  brings  forth  young  but  once  in  her 
lifetime,1  and  then  a  single  cub;  she  cannot  pos- 
sibly conceive  again,  since  she  loses  her  womb 
at  the  same  time  that  she  drops  her  young. 
The  reason  of  this  is  that  as  soon  as  the  cub 
begins  to  stir  inside  the  dam,  his  claws,  which 
are  sharper  than  those  of  any  other  animal, 
scratch  the  womb;  as  the  time  goes  on,  and  he 
grows  bigger,  he  tears  it  ever  more  and  more; 
so  that  at  last,  when  the  birth  comes,  there  is 
not  a  morsel  in  the  whole  womb  that  is  sound. 

109.  Now  with  respect  to  the  vipers  and  the 
winged  snakes  of  Arabia,  if  they  increased  as 
fast  as  their  nature  would  allow,  impossible 
were  it  for  man  to  maintain  himself  upon  the 
earth.  Accordingly  it  is  found  that  when  the 
male  and  female  come  together,  at  the  very 
moment  of  impregnation,  the  female  seizes  the 
male  by  the  neck,  and  having  once  fastened, 
cannot  be  brought  to  leave  go  till  she  has  bit 
the  neck  entirely  through.  And  so  the  male 
perishes;  but  after  a  while  he  is  revenged  upon 
the  female  by  means  of  the  young,  which, 
while  still  unborn,  gnaw  a  passage  through 
the  womb,  and  then  through  the  belly  of  their 
mother,  and  so  make  their  entrance  into  the 
world.  Contrariwise,  other  snakes,  which  are 
harmless,  lay  eggs,  and  hatch  a  vast  number  of 
young.  Vipers  are  found  in  all  parts  of  the 
world,  but  the  winged  serpents  are  nowhere 
seen  except  in  Arabia,  where  they  are  all  con- 
gregated together.  This  makes  them  appear  so 
numerous. 

no.  Such,  then,  is  the  way  in  which  the 
Arabians  obtain  their  frankincense;  their  man- 
ner of  collecting  the  cassia  is  the  following: — 
They  cover  all  their  body  and  their  face  with 
the  hides  of  oxen  and  other  skins,  leaving  only 
holes  for  the  eyes,  and  thus  protected  go  in 
search  of  the  cassia,  which  grows  in  a  lake  of 
no  great  depth.  All  round  the  shores  and  in 
the  lake  itself  there  dwell  a  number  of  winged 
animals,  much  resembling  bats,  which  screech 
horribly,  and  are  very  valiant.  These  creatures 
they  must  keep  from  their  eyes  all  the  while 
that  they  gather  the  cassia. 

1  The  fabulous  character  of  the  whole  of  this  ac- 
count was  known  to  Aristotle. 


in.  Still  more  wonderful  is  the  mode  in 
which  they  collect  the  cinnamon.  Where  the 
wood  grows,  and  what  country  produces  it, 
they  cannot  tell — only  some,  following  proba- 
bility, relate  that  it  comes  from  the  country  in 
which  Bacchus  was  brought  up.  Great  birds, 
they  say,  bring  the  sticks  which  we  Greeks, 
taking  the  word  from  the  Phoenicians,  call  cin- 
namon, and  carry  them  up  into  the  air  to  make 
their  nests.  These  are  fastened  with  a  sort  of 
mud  to  a  sheer  face  of  rock,  where  no  foot  of 
man  is  able  to  climb.  So  the  Arabians,  to  get 
the  cinnamon,  use  the  following  artifice.  They 
cut  all  the  oxen  and  asses  and  beasts  of  burthen 
that  die  in  their  land  into  large  pieces,  which 
they  carry  with  them  into  those  regions,  and 
place  near  the  nests:  then  they  withdraw  to  a 
distance,  and  the  old  birds,  swooping  down, 
seize  the  pieces  of  meat  and  fly  with  them  up 
to  their  nests;  which,  not  being  able  to  support 
the  weight,  break  off  and  fall  to  the  ground. 
Hereupon  the  Arabians  return  and  collect  the 
cinnamon,  which  is  afterwards  carried  from 
Arabia  into  other  countries. 

112.  Ledanum,  which  the  Arabs  call  lada- 
num,  is  procured   in  a  yet  stranger  fashion. 
Found  in  a  most  inodorous  place,  it  is  the 
sweetest-scented  of  all  substances.  It  is  gathered 
from  the  beards  of  he-goats,  where  it  is  found 
sticking  like  gum,  having  come  from  the  bush- 
es on  which  they  browse.  It  is  used  in  many 
sorts  of  unguents,  and  is  what  the  Arabs  burn 
chiefly  as  incense. 

113.  Concerning  the  spices  of  Arabia  let  no 
more  be  said.  The  whole  country  is  scented 
with  them,  and  exhales  an  odour  marvellously 
sweet.  There  are  also  in  Arabia  two  kinds  of 
sheep  worthy  of  admiration,  the  like  of  which 
is  nowhere  else  to  be  seen;  the  one  kind  has 
long  tails,  not  less  than  three  cubits  in  length, 
which,  if  they  were  allowed  to  trail  on  the 
ground,  would  be  bruised  and  fall  into  sores. 
As  it  is,  all  the  shepherds  know  enough  of  car- 
pentering to  make  little  trucks  for  their  sheep's 
tails.  The  trucks  are  placed  under  the  tails,  each 
sheep  having  one  to  himself,  and  the  tails  are 
then  tied  down  upon  them.  The  other  kind 
has  a  broad  tail,  which  is  a  cubit  across  some- 
times. 

114.  Where  the  south  declines  towards  the 
setting  sun  lies  the  country  called  Ethiopia,  the 
last  inhabited  land  in  that  direction.  There 
gold  is  obtained  in  great  plenty,  huge  elephants 
abound,  with  wild  trees  of  all  sorts,  and  ebony; 
and  the  men  are  taller,  handsomer,  and  longer 
lived  than  anywhere  else. 


114 


HERODOTUS 


[  BOOK  in 


115.  Now  these  are  the  farthest  regions  of 
the  world  in  Asia  and  Libya.  Of  the  extreme 
tracts  of  Europe  towards  the  west  I  cannot 
speak  with  any  certainty;  for  I  do  not  allow 
that  there  is  any  river,   to  which  the  bar- 
barians give  the  name  of  Eridanus,  emptying 
itself  into  the  northern  sea,  whence  (as  the  tale 
goes)  amber  is  procured;  nor  do  I  know  of 
any  islands  called  the  Cassiterides  (Tin  Is- 
lands), whence  the  tin  comes  which  we  use. 
For  in  the  first  place  the  name  Eridanus  is 
manifestly  not  a  barbarian  word  at  all,  but  a 
Greek  name,  invented  by  some  poet  or  other; 
and  secondly,  though  I  have  taken  vast  pains, 
I  have  never  been  able  to  get  an  assurance  from 
an  eye-witness  that  there  is  any  sea  on  the  fur- 
ther side  of  Europe.  Nevertheless,  tin  and  am- 
ber do  certainly  come  to  us  from  the  ends  of 
the  earth. 

1 1 6.  The  northern  parts  of  Europe  are  very 
much  richer  in  gold  than  any  other  region: 
but  how  it  is  procured  I  have  no  certain  knowl- 
edge. The  story  runs  that  the  one-eyed  An- 
maspi  purloin  it  from  the  griffins;  but  here 
too  I  am  incredulous,  and  cannot  persuade  my- 
self that  there  is  a  race  of  men  born  with  one 
eye,  who  in  all  else  resemble  the  rest  of  man- 
kind. Nevertheless  it  seems  to  be  true  that  the 
extreme  regions  of  the  earth,  which  surround 
and  shut  up  within  themselves  all  other  coun- 
tries, produce  the  things  which  are  the  rarest, 
and  which  men  reckon  the  most  beautiful. 

117.  There  is  a  plain  in  Asia  which  is  shut 
in  on  all  sides  by  a  mountain-range,  and  in  this 
mountain-range  are  five  openings.  The  plain 
lies  on  the  confines  of  the  Chorasmians,  Hyr- 
canians,  Parthians,  Sarangians,  and  Thamanae- 
ans,  and  belonged  formerly  to  the  first-men- 
tioned of  those  peoples.  Ever  since  the  Per- 
sians, however,  obtained  the  mastery  of  Asia, 
it  has  been  the  property  of  the  Great  King.  A 
mighty  river,  called  the  Aces,  flows  from  the 
hills  inclosing  the  plain;  and  this  stream,  for- 
merly splitting  into  five  channels,  ran  through 
the  five  openings  in  the  hills,  and  watered  the 
lands  of  the  five  nations  which  dwell  around. 
The  Persian  came,  however,  and  conquered 
the  region,  and  then  it  went  ill  with  the  peo- 
ple of  these  lands.  The  Great  King  blocked 
up  all  the  passages  between  the  hills  with  dykes 
and  flood-gates,  and  so  prevented  the  water 
from  flowing  out.  Then  the  plain  within  the 
hills  became  a  sea,  for  the  river  kept  rising,  and 
the  water  could  find  no  outlet.  From  that  time 
the  five  nations  which  were  wont  formerly  to 
have  the  use  of  the  stream,  losing  their  accus- 


tomed supply  of  water,  have  been  in  great  dis- 
tress. In  winter,  indeed,  they  have  rain  from 
heaven  like  the  rest  of  the  world,  but  in  sum- 
mer, after  sowing  their  millet  and  their  sesame, 
they  always  stand  in  need  of  water  from  the 
river.  When,  therefore,  they  suffer  from  this 
want,  hastening  to  Persia,  men  and  women 
alike,  they  take  their  station  at  the  gate  of  the 
king's  palace,  and  wail  aloud.  Then  the  king 
orders  the  flood-gates  to  be  opened  towards  the 
country  whose  need  is  greatest,  and  lets  the 
soil  drink  until  it  has  had  enough;  after  which 
the  gates  on  this  side  are  shut,  and  others  are 
unclosed  for  the  nation  which,  of  the  remain- 
der, needs  it  most.  It  has  been  told  me  that  the 
king  never  gives  the  order  to  open  the  gates 
till  the  suppliants  have  paid  him  a  large  sum 
of  money  over  and  above  the  tribute. 

118,  Of  the  seven  Persians   who  rose  up 
against  the  Magus,  one,  Intaphernes,  lost  his 
life  very  shortly  after  the  outbreak,  for  an  act 
of  insolence.  He  wished  to  enter  the  palace  and 
transact  a  certain  business  with  the  king.  Now 
the  law  was  that  all  those  who  had  taken  part 
in  the  rising  against  the  Magus  might  enter 
unannounced  into  the  king's  presence,  unless 
he  happened  to  be  in  private  with  his  wife.  So 
Intaphernes  would  not  have  any  one  announce 
him,  but,  as  he  belonged  to  the  seven,  claimed 
it  as  his  right  to  go  in.  The  doorkeeper,  how- 
ever, and  the  chief  usher  forbade  his  entrance, 
since  the  king,  they  said,  was  with  his  wife. 
But  Intaphernes  thought  they   told  lies;  so, 
drawing  his  scymitar,  he  cut  off  their  noses  and 
their  ears,  and,  hanging  them  on  the  bridle  of 
his  horse,  put  the  bridle  round  their  necks,  and 
so  let  them  go. 

119.  Then  these  two  men  went  and  showed 
themselves  to  the  king,  and  told  him  how  it 
had  come  to  pass  that  they  were  thus  treated. 
Darius  trembled  lest  it  was  by  the  common 
consent  of  the  six  that  the  deed  had  been  done; 
he  therefore  sent  for  them  all  in  turn,  and 
sounded  them  to  know  if  they  approved  the 
conduct  of  Intaphernes.  When  he  found  by 
their  answers  that  there  had  been  no  concert  be- 
tween him  and  them,  he  laid  hands  on  Intaph- 
ernes, his  children,  and  all  his  near  kindred; 
strongly  suspecting  that  he  and  his  friends 
were  about  to  raise  a  revolt.  When  all  had  been 
seized  and  put  in  chains,  as  malefactors  con- 
demned to  death,  the  wife  of  Intaphernes  came 
and  stood  continually  at  the  palace-gates,  weep- 
ing and  wailing  sore.  So  Darius  after  a  while, 
seeing  that  she  never  ceased  to  stand  and  weep, 
was  touched  with  pity  for  her,  and  bade  a  mes- 


II5-I23] 

senger  go  to  her  and  say,  "Lady,  king  Darius 
gives  thee  as  a  boon  the  life  of  one  of  thy  kins- 
men— choose  which  thou  wilt  of  the  prison- 
ers." Then  she  pondered  awhile  before  she  an- 
swered, "If  the  king  grants  me  the  life  of  one 
alone,  I  make  choice  of  my  brother."  Darius, 
when  he  heard  the  reply,  was  astonished,  and 
sent  again,  saying,  "Lady,  the  king  bids  thee 
tell  him  why  it  is  that  thou  passest  by  thy  hus- 
band and  thy  children,  and  preferrest  to  have 
the  life  of  thy  brother  spared.  He  is  not  so  near 
to  thee  as  thy  children,  nor  so  dear  as  thy  hus- 
band." She  answered,  "O  king,  if  the  gods  will, 
I  may  have  another  husband  and  other  chil- 
dren when  these  are  gone.  But  as  my  father 
and  my  mother  are  no  more,  it  is  impossible 
that  I  should  have  another  brother.  This  was 
my  thought  when  I  asked  to  have  my  brother 
spared."  Then  it  seemed  to  Darius  that  the 
lady  spoke  well,  and  he  gave  her,  besides  the 
life  that  she  had  asked,  the  life  also  of  her  eld- 
est son,  because  he  was  greatly  pleased  with 
her.  But  he  slew  all  the  rest.  Thus  one  of  the 
seven  died,  in  the  way  I  have  described,  very 
shortly  after  the  insurrection. 

120.  About  the  time  of  Cambyses'  last  sick- 
ness, the  following  events  happened.  There 
was  a  certain  Oroetes,  a  Persian,  whom  Cyrus 
had  made  governor  of  Sardis.  This  man  con- 
ceived a  most  unholy  wish.  He  had  never  suf- 
fered wrong  or  had  an  ill  word  from  Polycrates 
the  Samian — nay,  he  had  not  so  much  as  seen 
him  in  all  his  life;  yet,  notwithstanding,  he 
conceived  the  wish  to  seize  him  and  put  him 
to  death.  This  wish,  according  to  the  account 
which  the  most  part  give,  arose  from  what  hap- 
pened one  day  as  he  was  sitting  with  another 
Persian  in  the  gate  of  the  king's  palace.  The 
man's  name  was  Mitrobates,  and  he  was  ruler 
of  the  satrapy  of  Dascyleium.  He  and  Oroetes 
had  been  talking  together,  and  from  talking 
they  fell  to  quarrelling  and  comparing  their 
merits;  whereupon  Mitrobates  said  to  Oroetes 
reproachfully,  "Art  thou  worthy  to  be  called  a 
man,  when,  near  as  Samos  lies  to  thy  govern- 
ment, and  easy  as  it  is  to  conquer,  thou  hast 
omitted  to  bring  it  under  the  dominion  of  the 
king?  Easy  to  conquer,  said  I?  Why,  a  mere 
common  citizen,  with  the  help  of  fifteen  men- 
at-arms,  mastered  the  island,  and  is  still  king 
of  it."  Oroetes,  they  say,  took  this  reproach 
greatly  to  heart;  but,  instead  of  seeking  to  re- 
venge himself  on  the  man  by  whom  it  was  ut- 
tered, he  conceived  the  desire  of  destroying 
Polycrates,  since  it  was  on  Polycrates'  account 
that  the  reproach  had  fallen  on  him. 


THE  HISTORY 


115 


121.  Another  less  common  version  of  the 
story  is  that  Oroetes  sent  a  herald  to  Samos  to 
make  a  request,  the  nature  of  which  is  not  stat- 
ed; Polycrates  was  at  the  time  reclining  in  the 
apartment  of  the  males,  and  Anacreon  the  Te- 
ian  was  with  him;  when  therefore  the  herald 
came  forward  to  converse,  Polycrates,  either 
out  of  studied  contempt  for  the  power  of  Oroe- 
tes, or  it  may  be  merely  by  chance,  was  lying 
with  his  face  turned  away  towards  the  wall; 
and  so  he  lay  all  the  time  that  the  herald  spake, 
and  when  he  ended,  did  not  even  vouchsafe 
him  a  word. 

122.  Such  are  the  two  reasons  alleged  for  the 
death  of  Polycrates;  it  is  open  to  all  to  believe 
which  they  please.  What  is  certain  is  that  Oroe- 
tes, while  residing  at  Magnesia  on  the  Maean- 
der,  sent  a  Lydian,  by  name  Myrsus,  the  son 
of  Gyges,  with  a  message  to  Polycrates  at  Sa- 
mos, well  knowing  what  that  monarch  de- 
signed. For  Polycrates  entertained  a  design 
which  no  other  Greek,  so  far  as  we  know,  ever 
formed  before  him,  unless  it  were  Minos  the 
Cnossian,  and  those  (if  there  were  any  such) 
who  had  the  mastery  of  the  Egaean  at  an  earli- 
er time — Polycrates,  I  say,  was  the  first  of  mere 
human  birth  who   conceived  the  design  of 
gaining  the  empire  of  the  sea,  and  aspired  to 
rule  over  Ionia  and  the  islands.  Knowing  then 
that  Polycrates  was  thus  minded,  Oroetes  sent 
his  message,  which  ran  as  follows: — 

"Oroetes  to  Polycrates  thus  sayeth :  I  hear  thou 
raisest  thy  thoughts  high,  but  thy  means  are 
not  equal  to  thy  ambition.  Listen  then  to  my 
words,  and  learn  how  thou  mayest  at  once 
serve  thyself  and  preserve  me.  King  Cambyses 
is  bent  on  my  destruction — of  this  I  have  warn- 
ing from  a  sure  hand.  Come  thou,  therefore, 
and  fetch  me  away,  me  and  all  my  wealth — 
share  my  wealth  with  me,  and  then,  so  far  as 
money  can  aid,  thou  mayest  make  thyself  mas- 
ter of  the  whole  of  Greece.  But  if  thou  doubt- 
est  of  my  wealth,  send  the  trustiest  of  thy  fol- 
lowers, and  I  will  show  my  treasures  to  him." 

123.  Polycrates,  when  he  heard  this  message, 
was  full  of  joy,  and  straightway  approved  the 
terms;  but,  as  money  was  what  he  chiefly  de- 
sired, before  stirring  in  the  business  he  sent  his 
secretary,  Maeandrius,  son  of  Macandrius,  a  Sa- 
mian, to  look  into  the  matter.  This  was  the 
man  who,  not  very  long  afterwards,  made  an 
offering  at  the  temple  of  Juno  of  all  the  furni- 
ture which  had  adorned  the  male  apartments 
in  the  palace  of  Polycrates,  an  offering  well 
worth  seeing.  Oroetes  learning  that  one  was 
coming  to  view  his  treasures,  contrived  as  fol* 


116 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK  in 


lows: — he  filled  eight  great  chests  almost  brim- 
ful of  stones,  and  then  covering  over  the  stones 
with  gold,  corded  the  chests,  and  so  held  them 
in  readiness.  When  Maeandrius  arrived,  he  was 
shown  this  as  Orcetes'  treasure,  and  having 
seen  it  returned  to  Samos. 

124.  On  hearing  his   account,   Polycrates, 
notwithstanding  many  warnings  given  him  by 
the  soothsayers,  and  much  dissuasion  of  his 
friends,  made  ready  to  go  in  person.  Even  the 
dream  which   visited  his  daughter  failed  to 
check  him.  She  had  dreamed  that  she  saw  her 
father  hanging  high  in  air,  washed  by  Jove,  and 
anointed  by  the  sun.  Having  therefore  thus 
dreamed,  she  used  every  effort  to  prevent  her 
father  from  going;  even  as  he  went  on  board 
his  pcnteconter  crying  after  him  with  words  of 
evil  omen.  Then   Polycrates  threatened  her 
that,  if  he  returned  in  safety,  he  would  keep 
her   unmarried   many   years.   She   answered, 
"Oh!  that  he  might  perform  his  threat;  far 
better  for  her  to  remain  long  unmarried  than 
to  be  bereft  of  her  father!" 

125.  Polycrates,  however,  making  light  of 
all  the  counsel  offered  him,  set  sail  and  went 
to  Orcetes.  Many  friends  accompanied  him; 
among  the  rest,  Democedes,  the  son  of  Calli- 
phon,  a  native  of  Crotona,  who  was  a  physi- 
cian, and  the  best  skilled  in  his  art  of  all  men 
then  living.  Polycrates,  on  his  arrrval  at  Mag- 
nesia, perished  miserably,  in  a  way  unworthy 
of  his  rank  and  of  his  lofty  schemes.  For,  if  we 
except  the  Syracusans,  there  has  never  been 
one  of  the  Greek  tyrants  who  was  to  be  com- 
pared with  Polycrates  for  magnificence.  Orce- 
tes, however,  slew  him  in  a  mode  which  is  not 
fit  to  be  described,  and  then  hung  his  dead 
body  upon  a  cross.  His  Samian  followers  Orce- 
tes let  go  free,  bidding  them  thank  him  that 
they  were  allowed  their  liberty;  the  rest,  who 
were  in  part  slaves,  in  part  free  foreigners,  he 
alike  treated  as  his  slaves  by  conquest.  Then 
was  the  dream  of  the  daughter  of  Polycrates 
fulfilled;  for  Polycrates,  as  he  hung  upon  the 
cross,  and  rain  fell  on  him,  was  washed  by  Ju- 
piter; and  he  was  anointed  by  the  sun,  when 
his  own  moisture  overspread  his  body.  And  so 
the  vast  good  fortune  of  Polycrates  came  at  last 
to  the  end  which  Amasis  the  Egyptian  king 
had  prophesied  in  days  gone  by. 

126.  It  was  not  long  before  retribution  for 
the  murder  of  Polycrates  overtook  Orcetes. 
After  the  death  of  Cambyses,  and  during  all  the 
time  that  the  Magus  sat  upon  the  throne,  Orce- 
tes remained  in  Sardis,  and  brought  no  help 
to  the  Persians,  whom  the  Medes  had  robbed 


of  the  sovereignty.  On  the  contrary,  amid  the 
troubles  of  this  season,  he  slew  Mitrobates,  the 
satrap  of  Dascyleium,  who  had  cast  the  re- 
proach upon  him  in  the  matter  of  Polycrates; 
and  he  slew  also  Mitrobates's  son,  Cranaspes 
— both  men  of  high  repute  among  the  Per- 
sians. He  was  likewise  guilty  of  many  other 
acts  of  insolence;  among  the  rest,  of  the  follow- 
ing:— there  was  a  courier  sent  to  him  by  Da- 
rius whose  message  was  not  to  his  mind — 
Orcetes  had  him  waylaid  and  murdered  on  his 
road  back  to  the  king;  the  man  and  his  horse 
both  disappeared,  and  no  traces  were  left  of 
either. 

127.  Darius  therefore  was  no  sooner  settled 
upon  the  throne  than  he  longed  to  take  ven- 
geance upon  Orcetes  for  all  his  misdoings,  and 
especially  for  the  murder  of  Mitrobates  and  his 
son.  To  send  an  armed  force  openly  against 
him,  however,  he  did  not  think  advisable,  as 
the  whole  kingdom  was  still  unsettled,  and  he 
too  was  but  lately  come  to  the  throne,  while 
Orcetes,  as  he  understood,  had  a  great  power. 
In  truth  a  thousand  Persians  attended  on  him 
as  a  bodyguard,  and  he  held  the  satrapies  of 
Phrygia,  Lydia,  and  Ionia.  Darius  therefore 
proceeded  by  artifice.  He  called  together  a 
meeting  of  all  the  chief  of  the  Persians,  and 
thus  addressed  them: — "Who  among  you,  O 
Persians,  will  undertake  to  accomplish  me  a 
matter  by  skill  without  force  or  tumult?  Force 
is  misplaced  where  the  work  wants  skilful 
management.  Who,  then,  will  undertake  to 
bring  me  Orcetes  alive,  or  else  to  kill  him?  He 
never  did  the  Persians  any  good  in  his  life,  and 
he  has  wrought  us  abundant  injury.  Two  of 
our  number,  Mitrobates  and  his  son,  he  has 
slain;  and  when  messengers  go  to  recall  him, 
even  though  they  have  their  mandate  from 
me,  with  an  insolence  which  is  not  to  be  en- 
dured, he  puts  them  to  death.  We  must  kill  this 
man,  therefore,  before  he  does  the  Persians  any 
greater  hurt." 

128.  Thus  spoke  Darius;  and  straightway 
thirty  of  those  present  came  forward  and  of- 
fered themselves  for  the  work.  As  they  strove 
together,  Darius  interfered,  and  bade  them 
have  recourse  to  the  lot.  Accordingly  lots  were 
cast,  and  the  task  fell  to  Bagaeus,  son  of  Ar- 
tontes.  Then  Bagaeus  caused  many  letters  to  be 
written  on  divers  matters,  and  sealed  them  all 
with  the  king's  signet;  after  which  he  took  the 
letters  with  him,  and  departed  for  Sardis.  On 
his  arrival  he  was  shown  into  the  presence  of 
Orcetes,  when  he  uncovered  the  letters  one  by 
one,  and  giving  them  to  the  king's  secretary — • 


124-132] 


THE  HISTORY 


117 


every  satrap  has  with  him  a  king's  secretary- 
commanded  him  to  read  their  contents.  Here- 
in his  design  was  to  try  the  fidelity  of  the  body- 
guard, and  to  see  if  they  would  be  likely  to  fall 
away  from  Orcetes.  When  therefore  he  saw 
that  they  showed  the  letters  all  due  respect,  and 
even  more  highly  reverenced  their  contents,  he 
gave  the  secretary  a  paper  in  which  was  writ- 
ten, "Persians,  king  Darius  forbids  you  to 
guard  Orcetes."  The  soldiers  at  these  words 
laid  aside  their  spears.  So  Bagaeus,  finding  that 
they  obeyed  this  mandate,  took  courage,  and 
gave  into  the  secretary's  hands  the  last  letter, 
wherein  it  was  written,  "King  Darius  com- 
mands the  Persians  who  are  in  Sardis  to  kill 
Orcetes."  Then  the  guards  drew  their  swords 
and  slew  him  upon  the  spot.  Thus  did  retribu- 
tion for  the  murder  of  Polycrates  the  Samian 
overtake  Oroetes  the  Persian. 

129.  Soon  after  the  treasures  of  Orcetes  had 
been  conveyed  to  Sardis  it  happened  that  king 
Darius,  as  he  leaped  from  his  horse  during  the 
chase,  sprained  his  foot.  The  sprain  was  one  of 
no  common  seventy,  for  the  ankle-bone  was 
forced  quite  out  of  the  socket.  Now  Darius  al- 
ready had  at  his  court  certain  Egyptians  whom 
he  reckoned  the  best-skilled  physicians  in  all 
the  world;  to  their  aid,  therefore,  he  had  re- 
course; but  they  twisted  the  foot  so  clumsily, 
and  used  such  violence,  that  they  only  made 
the  mischief  greater.  For  seven  days  and  seven 
nights  the  king  lay  without  sleep,  so  grievous 
was  the  pain  he  suffered.  On  the  eighth  day  of 
his  indisposition,  one  who  had  heard  before 
leaving  Sardis  of  the  skill  of  Democedes  the 
Crotoniat,  told  Darius,  who  commanded  that 
he  should  be  brought  with  all  speed  into  his 
presence.  When,  therefore,  they  had  found  him 
among  the  slaves  of  Orcetes,  quite  uncared  for 
by  any  one,  they  brought  him  just  as  he  was, 
clanking  his  fetters,  and  all  clothed  in  rags, 
before  the  king. 

130.  As  soon  as  he  was  entered  into  the 
presence,  Darius  asked  him  if  he  knew  medi- 
cine— to  which   he   answered   "No,"  for  he 
feared  that  if  he  made  himself  known  he 
would  lose  all  chance  of  ever  again  beholding 
Greece.  Darius,  however,  perceiving  that  he 
dealt  deceitfully,  and  really  understood  the  art, 
bade  those  who  had  brought  him  to  the  pres- 
ence go  fetch  the  scourges  and  the  pricking- 
irons.  Upon  this  Democedes  made  confession, 
but  at  the  same  time  said,  that  he  had  no  thor- 
ough  knowledge  of  medicine — he  had   but 
lived  some  time  with  a  physician,  and  in  this 
way  had  gained  a  slight  smattering  of  the  art. 


However,  Darius  put  himself  under  his  care, 
and  Democedes,  by  using  the  remedies  cus- 
tomary among  the  Greeks,  and  exchanging  the 
violent  treatment  of  the  Egyptians  for  milder 
means,  first  enabled  him  to  get  some  sleep,  and 
then  in  a  very  little  time  restored  him  alto- 
gether, after  he  had  quite  lost  the  hope  of  ever 
having  the  use  of  his  foot.  Hereupon  the  king 
presented  Democedes  with  two  sets  of  fetters 
wrought  in  gold;  so  Democedes  asked  if  he 
meant  to  double  his  sufferings  because  he  had 
brought  him  back  to  health?  Darius  was 
pleased  at  the  speech,  and  bade  the  eunuchs 
take  Democedes  to  see  his  wives,  which  they 
did  accordingly,  telling  them  all  that  this  was 
the  man  who  had  saved  the  king's  life.  Then 
each  of  the  wives  dipped  with  a  saucer  into  a 
chest  of  gold,  and  gave  so  bountifully  to  Dem- 
ocedes, that  a  slave  named  Sciton,  who  fol- 
lowed him,  and  picked  up  the  staters1  which 
fell  from  the  saucers,  gathered  together  a  great 
heap  of  gold. 

131.  This  Democedes  left  his  country  and 
became  attached  to  Polycrates  in  the  following 
way: — His  father,  who  dwelt  at  Crotona,  was 
a  man  of  a  savage  temper,  and  treated  him 
cruelly.  When,  therefore,  he  could  no  longer 
bear  such  constant  ill-usage,  Democedes  left 
his  home,  and  sailed  away  to  Egina.  There  he 
set  up  in  business,  and  succeeded  the  first  year 
in  surpassing  all  the  best-skilled  physicians  of 
the  place,  notwithstanding  that  he  was  without 
instruments,  and  had  with  him  none  of  the  ap- 
pliances needful  for  the  practice  of  his  art.  In 
the  second  year  the  state  of  Egina  hired  his 
services  at  the  price  of  a  talent;  in  the  third  the 
Athenians  engaged  him  at  a  hundred  minae; 
and  in  the  fourth  Polycrates  at  two  talents.  So 
he  went  to  Samos,  and  there  took  up  his  abode. 
It  was  in  no  small  measure  from  his  success 
that  the  Crotoniats  came  to  be  reckoned  such 
good  physicians;  for  about  this  period  the  phy- 
sicians of  Crotona  had  the  name  of  being  the 
best,  and  those  of  Gyrene  the  second  best,  in  all 
Greece.  The  Argives,  about  the  same  time, 
were   thought  to  be  the  first  musicians  in 
Greece. 

132.  After  Democedes  had  cured  Darius  at 
Susa,  he  dwelt  there  in  a  large  house,  and 
feasted  daily  at  the  king's  table,  nor  did  he 
lack  anything  that  his  heart  desired,  excepting 
liberty  to  return  to  his  country.  By  interceding 
for  them  with  Darius,  he  saved  the  lives  of  the 
Egyptian  physicians  who  had  had  the  care  of 
the  king  before  he  came,  when  they  were  about 

1 A  stater  was  worth  $5.72. 


118 


HERODOTUS 


[  BOOK  ni 


to  be  impaled  because  they  had  been  surpassed 
by  a  Greek;  and  further,  he  succeeded  in  rescu- 
ing an  Elean  soothsayer,  who  had  followed  the 
fortunes  of  Polycrates,  and  was  lying  in  utter 
neglect  among  his  slaves.  In  short  there  was  no 
one  who  stood  so  high  as  Democedes  in  the 
favour  of  the  king. 

133.  Moreover,  within  a  little  while  it  hap- 
pened that  Atossa,  the  daughter  of  Cyrus,  who 
was  married  to  Darius,  had  a  boil  form  upon 
her   breast,  which,  after  it  burst,  began  to 
spread  and  increase.  Now  so  long  as  the  sore 
was  of  no  great  size,  she  hid  it  through  shame 
and  made  no  mention  of  it  to  any  one;  but 
when  it  became  worse,  she  sent  at  last  for 
Democedes,  and  showed  it  to  him.  Democedes 
said  that  he  would  make  her  well,  but  she  must 
first  promise  him  with  an  oath  that  if  he  cured 
her  she  would  grant  him  whatever  request  he 
might  prefer;  assuring  her  at  the  same  time 
that  it  should  be  nothing  which  she  could 
blush  to  hear. 

134.  On  these  terms  Democedes  applied  his 
art,  and  soon  cured  the  abscess;  and  Atossa, 
when  she  had  heard  his  request,  spake  thus 
one  night  to  Darius: — 

"It  seemeth  to  me  strange,  my  lord,  that,  with 
the  mighty  power  which  is  thine,  thou  sittest 
idle,  and  neither  makest  any  conquest,  nor  ad- 
vancest  the  power  of  the  Persians.  Methinks 
that  one  who  is  so  young,  and  so  richly  en- 
dowed with  wealth,  should  perform  some  no- 
ble achievement  to  prove  to  the  Persians  that 
it  is  a  man  who  governs  them.  Another  reason, 
too,  should  urge  thee  to  attempt  some  enter- 
prise. Not  only  does  it  befit  thee  to  show  the 
Persians  that  a  man  rules  them,  but  for  thy 
own  peace  thou  shouldest  waste  their  strength 
in  wars  lest  idleness  breed  revolt  against  thy 
authority.  Now,  too,  whilst  thou  art  still  young, 
thou  mayest  well  accomplish  some  exploit;  for 
as  the  body  grows  in  strength  the  mind  too 
ripens,  and  as  the  body  ages,  the  mind's  pow- 
ers decay,  till  at  last  it  becomes  dulled  to  every- 
thing." 

So  spake  Atossa,  as  Democedes  had  instruct- 
ed her.  Darius  answered: — "Dear  lady,  thou 
hast  uttered  the  very  thoughts  that  occupy  my 
brain.  I  am  minded  to  construct  a  bridge  which 
shall  join  our  continent  with  the  other,  and 
so  carry  war  into  Scythia.  Yet  a  brief  space  and 
all  will  be  accomplished  as  thou  desirest." 

But  Atossa  rejoined: — "Look  now,  this  war 
with  Scythia  were  best  reserved  awhile — for 
the  Scythians  may  be  conquered  at  any  time. 
Prithee,  lead  me  thy  host  first  into  Greece.  I 


long  to  be  served  by  some  of  those  Lacedae- 
monian maids  of  whom  I  have  heard  so  much. 
I  want  also  Argive,  and  Athenian,  and  Corin- 
thian women.  There  is  now  at  the  court  a  man 
who  can  tell  thee  better  than  any  one  else  in  the 
whole  world  whatever  thou  wouldst  know  con- 
cerning Greece,  and  who  might  serve  thee 
right  well  as  guide;  I  mean  him  who  per- 
formed the  cure  on  thy  foot." 

"Dear  lady,"  Darius  answered,  "since  it  is 
thy  wish  that  we  try  first  the  valour  of  the 
Greeks,  it  were  best,  methinks,  before  march- 
ing against  them,  to  send  some  Persians  to  spy 
out  the  land;  they  may  go  in  company  with 
the  man  thou  mentionest,  and  when  they  have 
seen  and  learnt  all,  they  can  bring  us  back  a 
full  report.  Then,  having  a  more  perfect 
knowledge  of  them,  I  will  begin  the  war." 

135.  Darius,  having  so  spoke,  put  no  long 
distance  between  the  word  and  the  deed,  but 
as  soon  as  day  broke  he  summoned  to  his  pres- 
ence fifteen  Persians  of  note,  and  bade  them 
take  Democedes  for  their  guide,  and  explore 
the  sea-coasts  of  Greece.  Above  all,  they  were 
to  be  sure  to  bring  Democedes  back  with  them, 
and  not  suffer  him  to  run  away  and  escape. 
After  he  had  given  these  orders,  Darius  sent 
for  Democedes,  and  besought  him  to  serve  as 
guide  to  the  Persians,  and  when  he  had  shown 
them  the  whole  of  Greece  to  come  back  to 
Persia.  He  should  take,  he  said,  all  the  valu- 
ables he  possessed  as  presents  to  his  father  and 
his  brothers,  and  he  should  receive  on  his  re- 
turn a  far  more  abundant  store.  Moreover,  the 
king  added,  he  would  give  him,  as  his  contri- 
bution towards  the  presents,  a  merchantship 
laden   with   all   manner   of   precious   things, 
which  should  accompany  him  on  his  voyage. 
Now  I  do  not  believe  that  Darius,  when  he 
made  these  promises,  had   any  guile  in   his 
heart:    Democedes,  however,  who  suspected 
that  the  king  spoke  to  try  him,  took  care  not  to 
snatch  at  the  offers  with  any  haste;  but  said, 
"he  would  leave  his  own  goods  behind  to  en- 
joy upon  his  return — the  merchant-ship  which 
the  king  proposed  to  grant  him  to  carry  gifts 
to  his  brothers,  that  he  would  accept  at  the 
king's  hands."  So  when  Darius  had  laid  his 
orders  upon  Democedes,  he  sent  him  and  the 
Persians  away  to  the  coast. 

136.  The  men  went  down  to  Phoenicia,  to 
Sidon,  the  Phoenician  town,  where  straightway 
they  fitted  out  two  triremes  and  a  trading-ves- 
sel, which  they  loaded  with  all  manner  of  pre- 
cious merchandise;  and,  everything  being  now 
ready,  they  set  sail  for  Greece.  When  they  had 


133-140] 

made  the  land,  they  kept  along  the  shore  and 
examined  it,  taking  notes  of  all  that  they  saw; 
and  in  this  way  they  explored  the  greater  por- 
tion of  the  country,  and  all  the  most  famous 
regions,  until  at  last  they  reached  Tarentum  in 
Italy.  There  Aristophilides,  king  of  the  Taren- 
tines,  out  of  kindness  to  Democedes,  took  the 
rudders  off  the  Median  ships,  and  detained 
their  crews  as  spies.  Meanwhile  Democedes  es- 
caped to  Crotona,  his  native  city,  whereupon 
Aristophilides  released  the  Persians  from  pris- 
on, and  gave  their  rudders  back  to  them. 

137.  The  Persians  now  quitted  Tarentum, 
and  sailed  to  Crotona  in  pursuit  of  Democedes; 
they  found  him  in  the  market-place,  where 
they  straightway  laid  violent  hands  on  him. 
Some  of  the  Crotoniats,  who  greatly  feared  the 
power  of  the  Persians,  were  willing  to  give 
him  up;  but  others  resisted,  held  Democedes 
fast,  and  even  struck  the  Persians  with  their 
walking-sticks.  They,  on  their  part,  kept  cry- 
ing out,  "Men  of  Crotona,  beware  what  you 
do.  It  is  the  king's  runaway  slave  that  you  are 
rescuing.  Think  you  Darius  will  tamely  sub- 
mit to  such  an  insult?  Think  you,  that  if  you 
carry  off  the  man  from  us,  it  will  hereafter  go 
well  with  you?  Will  you  not  rather  be  the  first 
persons  on  whom  we  shall  make  war?  Will 
not  your  city  be  the  first  we  shall  seek  to  lead 
away  captive?"  Thus  they  spake,  but  the  Cro- 
toniats did  not  heed  them;  they  rescued  Demo- 
cedes, and  seized  also  the  trading-ship  which 
the  Persians  had   brought  with  them   from 
Phoenicia.  Thus  robbed,  and  bereft  of  their 
guide,  the  Persians  gave  up  all  hope  of  explor- 
ing the  rest  of  Greece,  and  set  sail  for  Asia.  As 
they  were  departing,  Democedes  sent  to  them 
and  begged  they  would  inform  Darius  that  the 
daughter  of  Milo  was  affianced  to  him  as  his 
bride.  For  the  name  of  Milo  the  wrestler  was 
in  high  repute  with  the  king.  My  belief  is,  that 
Democedes  hastened  his  marriage  by  the  pay- 
ment of  a  large  sum  of  money  for  the  purpose 
of  showing  Darius  that  he  was  a  man  of  mark 
in  his  own  country. 

138.  The  Persians  weighed  anchor  and  left 
Crotona,  but,  being  wrecked  on  the  coast  of 
lapygia,  were  made  slaves  by  the  inhabitants. 
From  this  condition  they  were  rescued  by  Gil- 
lus,  a  banished  Tarentine,  who  ransomed  them 
at  his  own  cost,  and  took  them  back  to  Darius. 
Darius  offered  to  repay  this  service  by  granting 
Gillus  whatever  boon  he  chose  to  ask;  where- 
upon Gillus  told  the  king  of  his  misfortune, 
and  begged  to  be  restored  to  his  country.  Fear- 
ing, however,  that  he  might  bring  trouble  on 


THE  HISTORY  119 

Greece  if  a  vast  armament  were  sent  to  Italy 
on  his  account,  he  added  that  it  would  content 
him  if  the  Cnidians  undertook  to  obtain  his 
recall.  Now  the  Cnidians  were  close  friends  of 
the  Tarentines,  which  made  him  think  there 
was  no  likelier  means  of  procuring  his  return. 
Darius  promised  and  performed  his  part;  for 
he  sent  a  messenger  to  Cnidus,  and  command- 
ed the  Cnidians  to  restore  Gillus.  The  Cnidi- 
ans did  as  he  wished,  but  found  themselves 
unable  to  persuade  the  Tarentines,  and  were 
too  weak  to  attempt  force.  Such  then  was  the 
course  which  this  matter  took.  These  were  the 
first  Persians  who  ever  came  from  Asia  to 
Greece;  and  they  were  sent  to  spy  out  the  land 
for  the  reason  which  I  have  before  mentioned. 

139.  After  this,  king  Darius  besieged  and 
took  Samos,  which  was  the  first  city,  Greek  or 
Barbarian,  that  he  conquered.  The  cause  of  his 
making  war  upon  Samos  was  the  following: — 
at  the  time  when  Cambyses,  son  of  Cyrus, 
marched    against    Egypt,    vast    numbers    of 
Greeks  flocked  thither;  some,  as  might  have 
been  looked  for,  to  push  their  trade;  others,  to 
serve  in  his  army;  others  again,  merely  to  see 
the  land:  among  these  last  was  Syloson,  son 
of  ^Eaces,  and  brother  of  Polycrates,  at  that 
time  an  exile  from  Samos.  This  Syloson,  dur- 
ing his  stay  in  Egypt,  met  with  a  singular  piece 
of  good  fortune.  He  happened  one  day  to  put 
on  a  scarlet  cloak,  and  thus  attired  to  go  into 
the  market-place  at  Memphis,  when  Darius, 
who  was  one  of  Cambyses'  bodyguard,  and  not 
at  that  time  a  man  of  any  account,  saw  him, 
and  taking  a  strong  liking  to  the  dress,  went  up 
and  offered  to  purchase  it.  Syloson  perceived 
how  anxious  he  was,  and  by  a  lucky  inspira- 
tion answered:  "There  is  no  price  at  which  I 
would  sell  my  cloak;  but  I  will  give  it  thee  for 
nothing,  if  it  must  needs  be  thine."  Darius 
thanked  him,  and  accepted  the  garment. 

140.  Poor  Syloson  felt  at  the  time  that  he 
had  fooled  away  his  cloak  in  a  very  simple 
manner;  but  afterwards,  when  in  the  course 
of  years  Cambyses  died,  and  the  seven  Persians 
rose  in  revolt  against  the  Magus,  and  Darius 
was  the  man  chosen  out  of  the  seven  to  have 
the  kingdom,  Syloson  learnt  that  the  person  to 
whom  the  crown  had  come  was  the  very  man 
who  had  coveted  his  cloak  in  Egypt,  and  to 
whom  he  had  freely  given  it.  So  he  made  his 
way  to  Susa,  and  seating  himself  at  the  portal 
of  the  royal  palace,  gave  out  that  he  was  a  ben- 
efactor of  the  king.  Then  the  doorkeeper  went 
and  told  Darius.  Amazed  at  what  he  heard,  the 
king  said  thus  within  himself: — "What  Greek 


120 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK  in 


can  have  been  my  benefactor,  or  to  which  of 
them  do  I  owe  anything,  so  lately  as  I  have  got 
the  kingdom?  Scarcely  a  man  of  them  all  has 
been  here,  not  more  than  one  or  two  certainly, 
since  I  came  to  the  throne.  Nor  do  I  remember 
that  I  am  in  the  debt  of  any  Greek.  However, 
bring  him  in,  and  let  me  hear  what  he  means 
by  his  boast."  So  the  doorkeeper  ushered  Sylo- 
son  into  the  presence,  and  the  interpreters 
asked  him  who  he  was,  and  what  he  had  done 
that  he  should  call  himself  a  benefactor  of  the 
king.  Then  Syloson  told  the  whole  story  of  the 
cloak,  and  said  that  it  was  he  who  had  made 
Darius  the  present.  Hereupon  Darius  ex- 
claimed, "Oh!  thou  most  generous  of  men,  art 
thou  indeed  he  who,  when  I  had  no  power  at 
all,  gavest  me  something,  albeit  little?  Truly 
the  favour  is  as  great  as  a  very  grand  present 
would  be  nowadays.  I  will  therefore  give  thee 
in  return  gold  and  silver  without  stint,  that 
thou  mayest  never  repent  of  having  rendered  a 
service  to  Darius,  son  of  Hystaspes."  "Give  me 
not,  O  king,"  replied  Syloson,  "either  silver  or 
gold,  but  recover  me  Samos,  my  native  land, 
and  let  that  be  thy  gift  to  me.  It  belongs  now 
to  a  slave  of  ours,  who,  when  Oroetes  put  my 
brother  Polycrates  to  death,  became  its  master. 
Give  me  Samos,  I  beg;  but  give  it  unharmed, 
with  no  bloodshed — no  leading  into  captivity." 

141.  When  he  heard  this,  Darius  sent  off  an 
army,  under  Otanes,  one  of  the  seven,  with 
orders  to  accomplish  all  that  Syloson  had  de- 
sired. And  Otanes  went  down  to  the  coast  and 
made  ready  to  cross  over. 

142.  The  government  of  Samos  was  held  at 
this  time  by  Maeandrius,  son  of  Maeandrius, 
whom  Polycrates  had  appointed  as  his  deputy. 
This  person  conceived  the  wish  to  act  like  the 
justest  of  men,  but  it  was  not  allowed  him  to 
do  so.  On  receiving  tidings  of  the  death  of 
Polycrates,  he  forthwith  raised  an  altar  to  Jove 
the  Protector  of  Freedom,  and  assigned  it  the 
piece  of  ground  which  may  still  be  seen  in  the 
suburb.  This  done,  he  assembled  all  the  citi- 
zens, and  spoke  to  them  as  follows: — 

"Ye  know,  friends,  that  the  sceptre  of  Poly- 
crates, and  all  his  power,  has  passed  into  my 
hands,  and  if  I  choose  I  may  rule  over  you.  But 
what  I  condemn  in  another  I  will,  if  I  may, 
avoid  myself.  I  never  approved  the  ambition  of 
Polycrates  to  lord  it  over  men  as  good  as  him- 
self, nor  looked  with  favour  on  any  of  those 
who  have  done  the  like.  Now  therefore,  since 
he  has  fulfilled  his  destiny,  I  lay  down  my 
office,  and  proclaim  equal  rights.  All  that  I 
claim  in  return  is  six  talents  from  the  treasures 


of  Polycrates,  and  the  priesthood  of  Jove  the 
Protector  of  Freedom,  for  myself  and  my  de- 
scendants for  ever.  Allow  me  this,  as  the  man 
by  whom  his  temple  has  been  built,  and  by 
whom  ye  yourselves  are  now  restored  to  lib- 
erty." As  soon  as  Mseandrius  had  ended,  one  of 
the  Samians  rose  up  and  said,  "As  if  thou  wert 
fit  to  rule  us,  base-born  and  rascal  as  thou  art! 
Think  rather  of  accounting  for  the  monies 
which  thou  hast  fingered." 

143.  The  man  who  thus  spoke  was  a  certain 
Telesarchus,  one  of  the  leading  citizens.  Mae- 
andrius, therefore,  feeling  sure  that  if  he  laid 
down   the    sovereign    power  some  one   else 
would  become  tyrant  in  his  room,  gave  up  the 
thought  of  relinquishing  it.  Withdrawing  to 
the  citadel,  he  sent  for  the  chief  men  one  by 
one,  under  pretence  of  showing  them  his  ac- 
counts, and  as  fast  as  they  came  arrested  them 
and  put  them  in  irons.  So  these  men  were 
bound;  and  Maeandrius  within  a  short  time 
fell  sick:   whereupon  Lycaretus,  one  of  his 
brothers,  thinking  that  he  was  going  to  die, 
and  wishing  to  make  his  own  accession  to  the 
throne  the  easier,  slew  all  the  prisoners.  It 
seemed  that  the  Samians  did  not  choose  to  be 
a  free  people. 

144.  When  the  Persians  whose  business  it 
was  to  restore  Syloson  reached  Samos,  not  a 
man  was  found  to  lift  up  his  hand  against 
them.  Maeandrius  and  his  partisans  expressed 
themselves  willing  to  quit  the  island  upon  cer- 
tain terms,  and  these  terms  were  agreed  to  by 
Otanes.  After  the  treaty  was  made,  the  most 
distinguished  of  the  Persians  had  their  thrones 
brought,  and  seated  themselves  over  against 
the  citadel. 

145.  Now  the  king  Maeandrius  had  a  light- 
headed brother — Charilaiis  by  name — whom 
for  some  offence  or  other  he  had  shut  up  in 
prison:  this  man  heard  what  was  going  on,  and 
peering  through   his  bars,  saw  the  Persians 
sitting  peacefully  upon  their  seats,  whereupon 
he  exclaimed  aloud,  and  said  he  must  speak 
with  Masandrius.  When  this  was  reported  to 
him,  Maeandrius  gave  orders  that  Charilaiis 
should  be  released  from  prison  and  brought 
into  his  presence.  No  sooner  did  he  arrive  than 
he  began  reviling  and  abusing  his  brother,  and 
strove  to  persuade  him  to  attack  the  Persians. 
"Thou   meanest-spirited   of    men,"   he   said, 
"thou  canst  keep  me,  thy  brother,  chained  in  a 
dungeon,  notwithstanding  that  I  have  done 
nothing  worthy  of  bonds;  but  when  the  Per- 
sians come  and  drive  thee  forth  a  houseless 
wanderer  from  thy  native  land,  thou  lookest 


141-152] 


THE  HISTORY 


121 


on,  and  hast  not  the  heart  to  seek  revenge, 
though  they  might  so  easily  be  subdued.  If 
thou,  however,  art  afraid,  lend  me  thy  soldiers, 
and  I  will  make  them  pay  dearly  for  their  com- 
ing here.  I  engage  too  to  send  thee  first  safe 
out  of  the  island." 

146.  So  spake  Charilaiis,   and  Maeandrius 
gave  consent;  not  (I  believe)  that  he  was  so 
void  of  sense  as  to  imagine  that  his  own  forces 
could  overcome  those  of  the  king,  but  because 
he  was  jealous  of  Syloson,  and  did  not  wish 
him  to  get  so  quietly  an  unharmed  city.  He 
desired  therefore  to  rouse  the  anger  of  the  Per- 
sians against  Samos,  that  so  he  might  deliver  it 
up  to  Syloson  with  its  power  at  the  lowest  pos- 
sible ebb;  for  he  knew  well  that  if  the  Persians 
met  with  a  disaster   they  would  be  furious 
against  the  Samians,  while  he   himself  felt 
secure  of  a  retreat  at  any  time  that  he  liked, 
since  he  had  a  secret  passage  under  ground 
leading  from  the  citadel  to  the  sea.  Maeandrius 
accordingly  took  ship  and  sailed  away  from 
Samos;  and  Charilaiis,  having  armed  all  the 
mercenaries,  threw  open  the  gates,  and  fell 
upon  the  Persians,   who  looked  for  nothing 
less,  since  they  supposed  that  the  whole  matter 
had  been  arranged  by  treaty.  At  the  first  on- 
slaught therefore  all  the  Persians  of  most  note, 
men  who  were  in  the  habit  of  using  litters, 
were  slain  by  the  mercenaries;  the  rest  of  the 
army,  however,  came  to  the  rescue,  defeated 
the  mercenaries,  and  drove  them  back  into  the 
citadel. 

147.  Then  Otanes,  the  general,  when  he  saw 
the  great  calamity  which  had  befallen  the  Per- 
sians, made  up  his  mind  to  forget  the  orders 
which  Darius  had  given  him,  "not  to  kill  or 
enslave  a  single  Samian,  but  to  deliver  up  the 
island  unharmed  to  Syloson,'*  and  gave  the 
word  to  his  army  that  they  should  slay  the  Sa- 
mians, both    men  and   boys,   wherever  they 
could  find  them.  Upon  this  some  of  his  troops 
laid  siege  to  the  citadel,  while  others  began  the 
massacre,  killing  all  they  met,  some  outside, 
some  inside  the  temples. 

148.  Maeandrius  fled  from  Samos  to  Lacedae- 
mon,  and  conveyed  thither  all  the  riches  which 
he  had  brought  away  from  the  island,  after 
which  he  acted  as  follows.  Having  placed  upon 
his  board  all  the  gold  and  silver  vessels  that  he 
had,  and  bade  his  servants  employ  themselves 
in  cleaning  them,  he  himself  went  and  entered 
into  conversation  with  Cleomenes,  son  of  Ana- 
xandridas,  king  of  Sparta,  and  as  they  talked 
brought  him  along  to  his  house.  There  Cleo- 
menes, seeing  the  plate,  was  filled  with  wonder 


and  astonishment;  whereon  the  other  begged 
that  he  would  carry  home  with  him  any  of  the 
vessels  that  he  liked.  Maeandrius  said  this  two 
or  three  times;  but  Cleomenes  here  displayed 
surpassing  honesty.  He  refused  the  gift,  and 
thinking  that  if  Maeandrius  made  the  same 
offers  to  others  he  would  get  the  aid  he  sought, 
the  Spartan  king  went  straight  to  the  ephors 
and  told  them  "it  would  be  best  for  Sparta 
that  the  Samian  stranger  should  be  sent  away 
from  the  Peloponnese;  for  otherwise  he  might 
perchance  persuade  himself  or  some  other 
Spartan  to  be  base."  The  ephors  took  his  ad- 
vice, and  let  Maeandrius  know  by  a  herald  that 
he  must  leave  the  city. 

149.  Meanwhile  the  Persians  netted  Samos, 
and  delivered  it  up  to  Syloson,  stripped  of  all 
its  men.  After  some  time,  however,  this  same 
general  Otanes  was  induced  to  repeople  it  by 
a  dream  which  he  had,  and  a  loathsome  disease 
that  seized  on  him. 

150.  After  the  armament  of  Otanes  had  set 
sail  for  Samos,  the  Babylonians  revolted,  hav- 
ing made  every  preparation  for  defence.  Dur- 
ing all  the  time  that  the  Magus  was  king,  and 
while   the  seven  were  conspiring,  they  had 
profited  by  the  troubles,  and  had  made  them- 
selves ready  against  a  siege.  And  it  happened 
somehow  or  other  that  no  one  perceived  what 
they  were  doing.  At  last  when  the  time  came 
for  rebelling  openly,  they  did  as  follows: — 
having  first  set  apart  their  mothers,  each  man 
chose  besides  out  of  his  whole  household  one 
woman,  whomsoever  he  pleased;  these  alone 
were  allowed  to  live,  while  all  the  rest  were 
brought  to  one  place  and  strangled.  The  wom- 
en chosen  were  kept  to  make  bread  for  the 
men;  while  the  others  were  strangled  that  they 
might  not  consume  the  stores. 

151.  When  tidings  reached  Darius  of  what 
had  happened,  he  drew  together  all  his  power, 
and  began  the  war  by  marching  straight  upon 
Babylon,  and  laying  siege  to  the  place.  The 
Babylonians,  however,  cared  not  a  whit  for  his 
siege.   Mounting  upon  the  battlements  that 
crowned  their  walls,  they  insulted  and  jeered  at 
Darius  and  his  mighty  host.  One  even  shouted 
to  them  and  said,  "Why  sit  ye  there,  Persians? 
why  do  ye  not  go  back  to  your  homes?  Till 
mules  foal  ye  will  not  take  our  city."  This  was 
said  by  a  Babylonian  who  thought  that  a  mule 
would  never  foal. 

152.  Now  when  a  year  and  seven  months 
had  passed,  Darius  and  his  army  were  quite 
wearied  out,  finding  that  they  could  not  any- 
how take  the  city.  All  stratagems  and  all  arts 


122 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK  in 


had  been  used,  and  yet  the  king  could  not  pre- 
vail— not  even  when  he  tried  the  means  by 
which  Cyrus  made  himself  master  of  the  place. 
The  Babylonians  were  ever  upon  the  watch, 
and  he  found  no  way  of  conquering  them. 

153.  At  last,  in  the  twentieth  month,  a  mar- 
vellous thing  happened  to  Zopyrus,  son  of  the 
Megabyzus  who  was  among  the  seven  men 
that  overthrew  the  Magus.  One  of  his  sumpter- 
mules  gave  birth  to  a  foal.  Zopyrus,  when  they 
told  him,  not  thinking  that  it  could  be  true, 
went  and  saw  the  colt  with  his  own  eyes;  after 
which  he  commanded  his  servants  to  tell  no 
one  what  had  come  to  pass,  while  he  himself 
pondered  the  matter.  Calling  to  mind  then  the 
words  of  the  Babylonian  at  the  beginning  of 
the  siege,  "Till  mules  foal  ye  shall  not  take  our 
city" — he   thought,    as   he   reflected   on   this 
speech,  that  Babylon  might  now  be  taken.  For 
it  seemed  to  him  that  there  was  a  Divine  Prov- 
idence in  the  man  having  used  the  phrase,  and 
then  his  mule  having  foaled. 

154.  As  soon  therefore  as  he  felt  within  him- 
self that  Babylon  was  fated  to  be  taken,  he 
went  to  Darius  and  asked  him  if  he  set  a  very 
high  value  on  its  conquest.  When  he  found 
that  Darius  did  indeed  value  it  highly,  he  con- 
sidered further  with  himself  how  he  might 
make  the  deed  his  own,  and  be  the  man  to  take 
Babylon.  Noble  exploits   in  Persia   are  ever 
highly  honoured  and  bring  their  authors  to 
greatness.  He  therefore  reviewed  all  ways  of 
bringing  the  city  under,  but  found  none  by 
which  he  could  hope  to  prevail,  unless  he 
maimed  himself  and  then  went  over  to  the 
enemy.  To  do  this  seeming  to  him  a  light  mat- 
ter, he  mutilated  himself  in  a  way  that  was 
utterly  without  remedy.  For  he  cut  oft  his  own 
nose  and  ears,  and  then,  clipping  his  hair  close 
and  flogging  himself  with  a  scourge,  he  came 
in  this  plight  before  Darius. 

155.  Wrath  stirred  within  the  king  at  the 
sight  of  a  man  of  his  lofty  rank  in  such  a  con- 
3hion;  leaping  down  from  his  throne,  he  ex- 
claimed aloud,  and  asked  Zopyrus  who  it  was 
that  had  disfigured  him,  and  what  he  had  done 
to  be  so  treated.  Zopyrus  answered,  "There  is 
not  a  man  in  the  world,  but  thou,  O  king,  that 
could  reduce  me  to  such  a  plight — no  strang- 
er's hands  have  wrought  this  work  on  me,  but 
my  own  only.  I  maimed  myself  because  I  could 
not  endure  that  the  Assyrians  should  laugh  at 
the  Persians."  "Wretched  man,"  said  Darius, 
"thou  coverest  the  foulest  deed  with  the  fairest 
possible  name,  when  thou  sayest  thy  maiming 
is  to  help  our  siege  forward.  How  will  thy  dis- 


figurement, thou  simpleton,  induce  the  enemy 
to  yield  one  day  the  sooner?  Surely  thou  hadst 
gone  out  of  thy  mind  when  thou  didst  so  mis- 
use thyself."  "Had  I  told  thee,"  rejoined  the 
other,  "what  I  was  bent  on  doing,  thou  would- 
est  not  have  suffered  it;  as  it  is,  I  kept  my  own 
counsel,  and  so  accomplished  my  plans.  Now, 
therefore,  if  there  be  no  failure  on  thy  part,  we 
shall  take  Babylon.  I  will  desert  to  the  enemy 
as  I  am,  and  when  I  get  into  their  city  I  will 
tell  them  that  it  is  by  thee  I  have  been  thus 
treated.  I  think  they  will  believe  my  words, 
and  entrust  me  with  a  command  of  troops. 
Thou,  on  thy  part,  must  wait  till  the  tenth  day 
after  I  am  entered  within  the  town,  and  then 
place  near  to  the  gates  of  Semiramis  a  detach- 
ment of  thy  army,  troops  for  whose  loss  thou 
wilt  care  little,  a  thousand  men.  Wait,  after 
that,  seven  days,  and  post  me  another  detach- 
ment, two  thousand  strong,  at  the  Nineveh 
gates;  then  let  twenty  days  pass,  and  at  the  end 
of  that  time  station  near  the  Chaldaean  gates 
a  body  of  four  thousand.  Let  neither  these  nor 
the  former  troops  be  armed  with  any  weapons 
but  their  swords — those  thou  mayest  leave 
them.  After  the  twenty  days  are  over,  bid  thy 
whole  army  attack  the  city  on  every  side,  and 
put  me  two  bodies  of  Persians,  one  at  the  Be- 
lian,  the  other  at  the  Cissian  gates;  for  I  expect, 
that,  on  account  of  my  successes,  the  Baby- 
lonians will  entrust  everything,  even  the  keys 
of  their  gates,  to  me.  Then  it  will  be  for  me 
and  my  Persians  to  do  the  rest." 

156.  Having  left  these  instructions,  Zopyrus 
fled  towards  the  gates  of  the  town,  often  look- 
ing back,  to  give  himself  the  air  of  a  deserter. 
The  men  upon  the  towers,  whose  business  it 
was  to  keep  a  lookout,  observing  him,  has- 
tened down,  and  setting  one  of  the  gates  slight- 
ly ajar,  questioned  him  who  he  was,  and  on 
what  errand  he  had  come.  He  replied  that  he 
was  Zopyrus,  and  had  deserted  to  them  from 
the  Persians.  Then  the  doorkeepers,  when  they 
heard  this,  carried  him  at  once  before  the  Mag- 
istrates. Introduced  into  the  assembly,  he  be- 
gan to  bewail  his  misfortunes,  telling  them 
that  Darius  had  maltreated  him  in  the  way 
they  could  see,  only  because  he  had  given  ad- 
vice that  the  siege  should  be  raised,  since  there 
seemed  no  hope  of  taking  the  city.  "And  now," 
he  went  on  to  say,  "my  coming  to  you,  Baby- 
lonians, will  prove  the  greatest  gain  that  you 
could  possibly  receive,  while  to  Darius  and  the 
Persians  it  will  be  the  severest  loss.  Verily  he 
by  whom  I  have  been  so  mutilated  shall  not 
escape  unpunished.  And  truly  all  the  paths  of 


153-160] 


THE  HISTORY 


123 


his  counsels  are  known  to  me."  Thus  did  Zopy- 
rus  speak. 

157.  The  Babylonians,  seeing  a  Persian  of 
such  exalted  rank  in  so  grievous  a  plight,  his 
nose  and  ears  cut  off,  his  body  red  with  marks 
of  scourging  and  with  blood,  had  no  suspicion 
but  that  he  spoke  the  truth,  and  was  really 
come  to  be  their  friend  and  helper.  They  were 
ready,  therefore,  to  grant  him  anything  that  he 
asked;  and  on  his  suing  for  a  command,  they 
entrusted  to  him  a  body  of  troops,  with  the  help 
of  which  he  proceeded  to  do  as  he  had  ar- 
ranged with  Darius.  On  the  tenth  day  after  his 
flight  he  led  out  his  detachment,  and  surround- 
ing the  thousand  men,  whom  Darius  accord- 
ing to  agreement  had  sent  first,  he  fell  upon 
them  and  slew  them  all.  Then  the  Babylonians, 
seeing  that  his  deeds  were  as  brave  as  his 
words,  were  beyond  measure  pleased,  and  set 
no  bounds  to  their  trust.  He  waited,  however, 
and   when   the  next  period   agreed   on   had 
elapsed,  again  with  a  band  of  picked  men  he 
sallied  forth,  and  slaughtered  the  two  thou- 
sand. After  this  second  exploit,  his  praise  was 
in  all  mouths.  Once  more,  however,  he  waited 
till  the  interval  appointed  had  gone  by,  and 
then  leading  the  troops  to  the  place  where  the 
four  thousand  were,  he  put  them  also  to  the 
sword.  This  last  victory  gave  the  finishing 
stroke  to  his  power,  and  made  him  all  in  all 
with  the  Babylonians:  accordingly  they  com- 
mitted to  him  the  command  of  their  whole 
army,  and  put  the  keys  of  their  city  into  his 
hands. 

158.  Darius  now,  still  keeping  to  the  plan 
agreed  upon,  attacked  the  walls  on  every  side, 
whereupon  Zopyrus  played  out  the  remainder 
of    his    stratagem.    While    the    Babylonians, 
crowding  to  the  walls,  did  their  best  to  resist 
the  Persian  assault,  he  threw  open  the  Cissian 
and  the  Belian  gates,  and  admitted  the  enemy. 


Such  of  the  Babylonians  as  witnessed  the 
treachery,  took  refuge  in  the  temple  of  Jupiter 
Belus;  the  rest,  who  did  not  see  it,  kept  at  their 
posts,  till  at  last  they  too  learnt  that  they  were 
betrayed. 

159.  Thus  was  Babylon  taken  for  the  sec- 
ond time.  Darius  having  become  master  of  the 
place,  destroyed  the  wall,  and  tore  down  all  the 
gates;  for  Cyrus  had  done  neither  the  one  nor 
the  other  when  he  took  Babylon.  He  then  chose 
out  near  three  thousand  of  the  leading  citizens, 
and  caused  them  to  be  crucified,  while  he  al- 
lowed the  remainder  still  to  inhabit  the  city. 
Further,  wishing  to  prevent  the  race  of  the 
Babylonians  from  becoming  extinct,  he  provid- 
ed wives  for  them  in  the  room  of  those  whom 
(as  I  explained  before)  they  strangled,  to  save 
their  stores.  These  he  levied  from  the  nations 
bordering  on  Babylonia,  who  were  each  re- 
quired to  send  so  large  a  number  to  Babylon, 
that  in  all  there  were  collected  no  fewer  than 
fifty  thousand.  It  is  from  these  women  that  the 
Babylonians  of  our  times  are  sprung. 

1 60.  As  for  Zopyrus,  he  was  considered  by 
Darius  to  have  surpassed,  in  the  greatness  of 
his  achievements,  all  other  Persians,  whether  of 
former  or  of  later  times,  except  only  Cyrus — 
with  whom  no  Persian  ever  yet  thought  him- 
self worthy  to  compare.  Darius,  as  the  story 
goes,  would  often  say  that  "he  had  rather  Zopy- 
rus were  unmaimed,  than  be  master  of  twen- 
ty more  Babylons."  And  he  honoured  Zopyrus 
greatly;  year  by  year  he  presented  him  with  all 
the  gifts  which  are  held  in  most  esteem  among 
the  Persians;  he  gave  him  likewise  the  govern- 
ment of  Babylon  for  his  life,  free  from  tribute; 
and  he  also  granted  him  many  other  favours. 
Megabyzus,  who  held  the  command  in  Egypt 
against  the  Athenians  and  their  allies,  was  a  son 
of  this  Zopyrus.  And  Zopyrus,  who  fled  from 
Persia  to  Athens,  was  a  son  of  this  Megabyzus. 


The  Fourth  Book,  Entitled 
MELPOMENE 


i.  After  the  taking  of  Babylon,  an  expedition 
was  led  by  Darius  into  Scythia.  Asia  abound- 
ing in  men,  and  vast  sums  flowing  into  the 
treasury,  the  desire  seized  him  to  exact  ven- 
geance from  the  Scyths,  who  had  once  in  days 
gone  by  invaded  Media,  defeated  those  who 
met  them  in  the  field,  and  so  begun  the  quarrel. 
During  the  space  of  eight-and-twenty  years,  as 
I  have  before  mentioned,  the  Scyths  continued 
lords  of  the  whole  of  Upper  Asia.  They  en- 
tered Asia  in  pursuit  of  the  Cimmerians,  and 
overthrew  the  empire  of  the  Medes,  who  till 
they  came  possessed  the  sovereignty.  On  their 
return  to  their  homes  after  the  long  absence  of 
twenty-eight  years,  a  task  awaited  them  little 
less  troublesome  than  their  struggle  with  the 
Medes.  They  found  an  army  of  no  small  size 
prepared  to  oppose  their  entrance.  For  the 
Scythian  women,  when  they  saw  that  time 
went  on,  and  their  husbands  did  not  come 
back,  had  intermarried  with  their  slaves. 

2.  Now  the  Scythians  blind  all  their  slaves, 
to  use  them  in  preparing  their  milk.  The  plan 
they  follow  is  to  thrust  tubes  made  of  bone,  not 
unlike  our  musical  pipes,  up  the  vulva  of  the 
mare,  and  then  to  blow  into  the  tubes  with 
their  mouths,  some  milking  while  the  others 
blow.  They  say  that  they  do  this  because  when 
the  veins  of  the  animal  are  full  of  air,  the  udder 
is  forced  down.  The  milk  thus  obtained   is 
poured  into  deep  wooden  casks,  about  which 
the  blind  slaves  are  placed,  and  then  the  milk 
is  stirred  round.  That  which  rises  to  the  top  is 
drawn  off,  and  considered  the  best  part;  the 
under  portion  is  of  less  account.  Such  is  the  rea- 
son why  the  Scythians  blind  all  those  whom 
they  take  in  war;  it  arises  from  their  not  being 
tillers  of  the  ground,  but  a  pastoral  race. 

3.  When  therefore  the  children  sprung  from 
fhese  slaves  and  the  Scythian  women  grew  to 
manhood,  and  understood  the  circumstances  of 
their  birth,  they  resolved  to  oppose  the  army 


124 


which  was  returning  from  Media.  And,  first  of 
all,  they  cut  off  a  tract  of  country  from  the  rest 
of  Scythia  by  digging  a  broad  dyke  from  the 
Tauric  mountains  to  the  vast  lake  of  the  Maeo- 
tis.  Afterwards,  when  the  Scythians  tried  to 
force  an  entrance,  they  marched  out  and  en- 
gaged them.  Many  battles  were  fought,  and 
the  Scythians  gained  no  advantage,  until  at  last 
one  of  them  thus  addressed  the  remainder: 
"What  are  we  doing,  Scythians?  We  are  fight- 
ing our  slaves,  diminishing  our  own  number 
when  we  fall,  and  the  number  of  those  that  be- 
long to  us  when  they  fall  by  our  hands.  Take 
my  advice — lay  spear  and  bow  aside,  and  let 
each  man  fetch  his  horsewhip,  and  go  boldly 
up  to  them.  So  long  as  they  see  us  with  arms 
in  our  hands,  they  imagine  themselves  our 
equals  in  birth  and  bravery;  but  let  them  be- 
hold us  with  no  other  weapon  but  the  whip, 
and  they  will  feel  that  they  are  our  slaves,  and 
flee  before  us." 

4.  The  Scythians  followed  this  counsel,  and 
the  slaves  were  so  astounded,  that  they  forgot 
to  fight,  and  immediately  ran  away.  Such  was 
the  mode  in  which  the  Scythians,  after  being 
for  a  time  the  lords  of  Asia,  and  being  forced 
to  quit  it  by  the  Medes,  returned  and  settled  in 
their  own  country.  This  inroad  of  theirs  it  was 
that  Darius  was  anxious  to  avenge,  and  such 
was  the  purpose  for  which  he  was  now  col- 
lecting an  army  to  invade  them. 

5.  According    to    the    account    which    the 
Scythians  themselves  give,  they  are  the  young- 
est of  all  nations.  Their  tradition  is  as  follows. 
A  certain  Targitaiis  was  the  first  man  who  ever 
lived  in  their  country,  which  before  his  time 
was  a  desert  without  inhabitants.  He  was  a 
child — I  do  not  believe  the  tale,  but  it  is  told 
nevertheless — of  Jove  and  a  daughter  of  the 
Borysthenes.  Targitaiis,  thus  descended,  begat 
three  sons,  Leipoxais,  Arpoxais,  and  Colaxais, 
who  was  the  youngest  born  of  the  three.  While 


THE  HISTORY 


125 


they  still  ruled  the  land,  there  fell  from  the 
sky  four  implements,  all  of  gold — a  plough,  a 
yoke,  a  battle-axe,  and  a  drinking-cup.  The 
eldest  of  the  brothers  perceived  them  first,  and 
approached  to  pick  them  up;  when  lo!  as  he 
came  near,  the  gold  took  fire,  and  blazed.  He 
therefore  went  his  way,  and  the  second  com- 
ing forward  made  the  attempt,  but  the  same 
thing  happened  again.  The  gold  rejected  both 
the  eldest  and  the  second  brother.  Last  of  all 
the  youngest  brother  approached,  and  immedi- 
ately the  flames  were  extinguished;  so  he 
picked  up  the  gold,  and  carried  it  to  his  home. 
Then  the  two  elder  agreed  together,  and  made 
the  whole  kingdom  over  to  the  youngest  born. 

6.  From  Leipoxais  sprang  the  Scythians  of 
the  race  called  Auchatar,  from  Arpoxais,  the 
middle  brother,  those  known  as  the  Catiari 
and  Traspians;  from  Colaxais,  the  youngest, 
the  Royal  Scythians,  or  Paralatae.  All  together 
they  are  named  Scoloti,   after  one  of  their 
kings:  the  Greeks,  however,  call  them  Scythi- 
ans. 

7.  Such  is  the  account  which  the  Scythians 
give  of  their  origin.  They  add  that  from  the 
time  of  Targitaiis,  their  first  king,  to  the  inva- 
sion of  their  country  by  Darius,  is  a  period  of 
one  thousand  years,  neither  less  nor  more.  The 
Royal  Scythians  guard  the  sacred  gold  with 
most  especial  care,  and  year  by  year  offer  great 
sacrifices  in  its  honour.  At  this  feast,  if  the  man 
who  has  the  custody  of  the  gold  should  fall 
asleep  in  the  open  air,  he  is  sure  (the  Scythians 
say)  not  to  outlive  the  year.  His  pay  therefore 
is  as  much  land  as  he  can  ride  round  on  horse- 
back in  a  day.  As  the  extent  of  Scythia  is  very 
great,  Colaxais  gave  each  of  his  three  sons  a 
separate  kingdom,  one  of  which  was  of  ampler 
size  than  the  other  two:  in  this  the  gold  was 
preserved.  Above,  to  the  northward  of  the  far- 
thest dwellers  in  Scythia,  the  country  is  said  to 
be  concealed  from  sight  and  made  impassable 
by  reason  of  the  feathers  which  are  shed  abroad 
abundantly.  The  earth  and  air  are  alike  full  of 
them,  and  this  it  is  which  prevents  the  eye 
from  obtaining  any  view  of  the  region. 

8.  Such  is  the  account  which  the  Scythians 
give  of  themselves,  and  of  the  country  which 
lies  above  them.  The  Greeks  who  dwell  about 
the  Pontus  tell  a  different  story.  According  to 
them,  Hercules,  when  he  was  carrying  of?  the 
cows  of  Geryon,  arrived  in  the  region  which  is 
now  inhabited  by  the  Scyths,  but  which  was 
then  a  desert.  Geryon  lived  outside  the  Pontus, 
in  an  island  called  by  the  Greeks  Erytheia, 
near  Gadcs,  which  is  beyond  the  Pillars  of  Her- 


cules upon  the  Ocean.  Now  some  say  that  the 
Ocean  begins  in  the  east,  and  runs  the  whole 
way  round  the  world;  but  they  give  no  proof 
that  this  is  really  so.  Hercules  came  from 
thence  into  the  region  now  called  Scythia,  and, 
being  overtaken  by  storm  and  frost,  drew  his 
lion's  skin  about  him,  and  fell  fast  asleep. 
While  he  slept,  his  mares,  which  he  had  loosed 
from  his  chariot  to  graze,  by  some  wonderful 
chance  disappeared. 

9.  On  waking,  he  went  in  quest  of  them, 
and,  after  wandering  over  the  whole  country, 
came  at  last  to  the  district  called  "the  Wood- 
land," where  he  found  in  a  cave  a  strange  be- 
ing, between  a  maiden  and  a  serpent,  whose 
form  from  the  waist  upwards  was  like  that  of 
a  woman,  while  all  below  was  like  a  snake.  He 
looked  at  her  wonderingly;  but  nevertheless 
inquired,  whether  she  had  chanced  to  see  his 
strayed  mares  anywhere.  She  answered  him, 
"Yes,  and  they  were  now  in  her  keeping;  but 
never  would  she  consent  to  give  them  back,  un- 
less he  took  her  for  his  mistress."  So  Hercules, 
to  get  his  mares  back,  agreed;  but  afterwards 
she  put  him  ofT  and  delayed  restoring  the 
mares,  since  she  wished  to  keep  him  with  her 
as  long  as  possible.  He,  on  the  other  hand,  was 
only  anxious  to  secure  them  and  to  get  away. 
At  last,  when  she  gave  them  up,  she  said  to 
him,  "When  thy  mares  strayed  hither,  it  was 
I  who  saved  them  [or  thee:  now  thou  hast  paid 
their  salvage;  for  lo!  I  bear  in  my  womb  three 
sons  of  thine.  Tell  me  therefore  when  thy  sons 
grow  up,  what  must  I  do  with  them?  Wouldst 
thou  wish  that  I  should  settle  them  here  in  this 
land,  whereof  I  am  mistress,  or  shall  I  send 
them  to  thee?"  Thus  questioned,  they  say, 
Hercules   answered,   "When    the   lads   have 
grown  to  manhood,  do  thus,  and  assuredly 
thou  wilt  not  err.  Watch  them,  and  when  thou 
seest  one  of  them  bend  this  bow  as  I  now  bend 
it,  and  gird  himself  with   this  girdle  thus, 
choose  him  to  remain  in  the  land.  Those  who 
fail  in  the  trial,  send  away.  Thus  wilt  thou  at 
once  please  thyself  and  obey  me." 

10.  Hereupon  he  strung  one  of  his  bows — 
up  to  that  time  he   had  carried  two — and 
showed  her  how  to  fasten  the  belt.  Then  he 
gave  both  bow  and  belt  into  her  hands.  Now 
the  belt  had  a  golden  goblet  attached  to  its 
clasp.  So  after  he  had  given  them  to  her,  he 
went  his  way;  and  the  woman,  when  her  chil- 
dren grew  to  manhood,  first  gave  them  sever- 
ally their  names.  One  she  called  Agathyrsus, 
one  Gelonus,  and  the  other,  who  was  the 
youngest,  Scythes.  Then  she  remembered  the 


126 


HERODOTUS 


instructions  she  had  received  from  Hercules, 
and,  in  obedience  to  his  orders,  she  put  her 
sons  to  the  test.  Two  of  them,  Agathyrsus  and 
Gelonus,  proving  unequal  to  the  task  enjoined, 
their  mother  sent  them  out  of  the  land;  Scyth- 
es, the  youngest,  succeeded,  and  so  he  was  al- 
lowed to  remain.  From  Scythes,  the  son  of  Her- 
cules, were  descended  the  after  kings  of  Scyth- 
ia;  and  from  the  circumstance  of  the  goblet 
which  hung  from  the  belt,  the  Scythians  to 
this  day  wear  goblets  at  their  girdles.  This  was 
the  only  thing  which  the  mother  of  Scythes  did 
for  him.  Such  is  the  tale  told  by  the  Greeks 
who  dwell  around  the  Pontus. 

11.  There   is  also  another  different  story, 
now  to  be  related,  in  which  I  am  more  inclined 
to  put  faith  than  in  any  other.  It  is  that  the 
wandering  Scythians  once  dwelt  in  Asia,  and 
there  warred  with  the  Massagetae,  but  with  ill 
success;  they  therefore  quitted  their  homes, 
crossed  the  Araxes,  and  entered  the  land  of 
Cimmena.  For  the  land  which  is  now  inhabit- 
ed by  the  Scyths  was  formerly  the  country  of 
the  Cimmerians.  On  their  coming,  the  natives, 
who  heard  how  numerous  the  invading  army 
was,  held  a  council.  At  this  meeting  opinion 
was  divided,  and   both  parties   stiffly  main- 
tained their  own  view;  but  the  counsel  of  the 
Royal  tribe  was  the  braver.  For  the  others 
urged  that  the  best  thing  to  be  done  was  to 
leave  the  country,  and  avoid  a  contest  with  so 
vast  a  host;  but  the  Royal  tribe  advised  remain- 
ing and  fighting  for  the  soil  to  the  last.  As 
neither  party  chose  to  give  way,  the  one  de- 
termined to  retire  without  a  blow  and  yield 
their  lands  to  the  invaders;  but  the  other,  re- 
membering the  good  things  which  they  had 
enjoyed  in  their  homes,  and  picturing  to  them- 
selves the  evils  which  they  had  to  expect  if 
they  gave  them  up,  resolved  not  to  flee,  but 
rather  to  die  and  at  least  be  buried  in  their 
fatherland.  Having  thus  decided,  they  drew 
apart  in  two  bodies,  the  one  as  numerous  as  the 
other,  and  fought  together.  All  of  the  Royal 
tribe  were  slain,  and  the  people  buried  them 
near  the  river  Tyras,  where  their  grave  is  still 
to  be  seen.  Then  the  rest  of  the  Cimmerians  de- 
parted, and  the  Scythians,  on  their  coming, 
took  possession  of  a  deserted  land. 

12.  Scythia  still  retains  traces  of  the  Cim- 
merians; there  are  Cimmerian  castles,  and  a 
Cimmerian  ferry,  also  a  tract  called  Cimmeria, 
and  a  Cimmerian  Bosphorus.  It  appears  like- 
wise that  the  Cimmerians,  when  they  fled  into 
Asia  to  escape  the  Scyths,  made  a  settlement 
in  the  peninsula  where  the  Greek  city  of  Si- 


[  BOOK  iv 

nope  was  afterwards  built.  The  Scyths,  it  is 
plain,  pursued  them,  and  missing  their  road, 
poured  into  Media.  For  the  Cimmerians  kept 
the  line  which  led  along  the  sea-shore,  but  the 
Scyths  in  their  pursuit  held  the  Caucasus  upon 
their  right,  thus  proceeding  inland,  and  falling 
upon  Media.  This  account  is  one  which  is  com- 
mon both  to  Greeks  and  barbarians. 

13.  Aristeas  also,  son  of  Caystrobius,  a  na- 
tive of  Proconnesus,  says  in  the  course  of  his 
poem  that  wrapt  in  Bacchic  fury  he  went  as  far 
as  the  Issedones.  Above  them  dwelt  the  Ari- 
maspi,  men  with  one  eye;  still  further,  the 
gold-guarding  griffins;  and  beyond  these,  the 
Hyperboreans,  who  extended  to  the  sea.  Ex- 
cept the  Hyperboreans,  all  these  nations,  be- 
ginning with  the  Arimaspi,  were  continually 
encroaching  upon  their  neighbours.  Hence  it 
came  to  pass  that  the  Arimaspi  drove  the  Issedo- 
nians  from  their  country,  while  the  Issedonians 
dispossessed  the  Scyths;  and  the  Scyths,  pressing 
upon  the  Cimmerians,  who  dwelt  on  the  shores 
of  the  Southern  Sea,  forced  them  to  leave  their 
land.  Thus  even  Aristeas  does  not  agree  in  his 
account  of  this  region  with  the  Scythians, 

14.  The  birthplace  of  Aristeas,  the  poet  who 
sung  of  these  things,  I  have  already  mentioned. 
I  will  now  relate  a  tale  which  I  heard  concern- 
ing him  both  at  Proconnesus  and  at  Cyzicus. 
Aristeas,  they  said,  who  belonged  to  one  of  the 
noblest  families  in  the  island,  had  entered  one 
day  into  a  fuller's  shop,   when  he  suddenly 
dropt  down  dead.  Hereupon  the  fuller  shut  up 
his  shop,  and  went  to  tell  Aristeas'  kindred 
what  had  happened.  The  report  of  the  death 
had  just  spread  through  the  town,  when  a  cer- 
tain Cyzicenian,  lately  arrived  from  Artaca, 
contradicted  the  rumour,  affirming  that  he  had 
met  Aristeas  on  his  road  to  Cyzicus,  and  had 
spoken  with  him.  This  man,  therefore,  strenu- 
ously denied  the  rumour;  the  relations,  how- 
ever, proceeded  to  the  fuller's  shop  with  all 
things  necessary  for  the  funeral,  intending  to 
carry  the  body  away.  But  on  the  shop  being 
opened,  no  Aristeas  was  found,  either  dead  or 
alive.  Seven  years  afterwards  he  reappeared, 
they  told  me,  in  Proconnesus,  and  wrote  the 
poem  called  by  the  Greeks  The  Arimaspeia, 
after  which  he  disappeared   a  second  time. 
This  is  the  tale  current  in  the  two  cities  above- 
mentioned. 

15.  What  follows  I  know  to  have  happened 
to  the  Metapontines  of  Italy,  three  hundred 
and  forty  years1  after  the  second  disappear- 

1  This  date  must  certainly  be  wrong.  The  date 
usually  assigned  to  Aristeas  is  about  580  B.C. 


11-22] 


THE  HISTORY 


127 


ance  of  Aristeas,  as  I  collect  by  comparing  the 
accounts  given  me  at  Proconnesus  and  Meta- 
pontum.  Aristeas  then,  as  the  Metapontines 
affirm,  appeared  to  them  in  their  own  country, 
and  ordered  them  to  set  up  an  altar  in  honour 
of  Apollo,  and  to  place  near  it  a  statue  to  be 
called  that  of  Aristeas  the  Proconnesian.  "Apol- 
lo," he  told  them,  "had  come  to  their  coun- 
try once,  though  he  had  visited  no  other  Itali- 
ots;  and  he  had  been  with  Apollo  at  the  time, 
not  however  in  his  present  form,  but  in  the 
shape  of  a  crow."  Having  said  so  much,  he 
vanished.  Then  the  Metapontines,  as  they  re- 
late, sent  to  Delphi,  and  inquired  of  the  god 
in  what  light  they  were  to  regard  the  appear- 
ance of  this  ghost  of  a  man.  The  Pythoness,  in 
reply,  bade  them  attend  to  what  the  spectre 
said,  "for  so  it  would  go  best  with  them."  Thus 
advised,  they  did  as  they  had  been  directed: 
and  there  is  now  a  statue  bearing  the  name  of 
Aristeas,  close  by  the  image  of  Apollo  in  the 
market-place  of  Metapontum,  with  bay-trees 
standing  around  it.  But  enough  has  been  said 
concerning  Aristeas. 

1 6.  With  regard  to  the  regions  which  lie 
above  the  country  whereof  this  portion  of  my 
history  treats,  there  is  no  one  who  possesses  any 
exact  knowledge.  Not  a  single  person  can  I 
find  who  professes  to  be  acquainted  with  them 
by  actual  observation.  Even  Aristeas,  the  trav- 
eller of  whom  I  lately  spoke,  does  not  claim — 
and  he  is  writing  poetry — to  have  reached  any 
farther  than  the  Issedonians.  What  he  relates 
concerning  the  regions  beyond  is,  he  confesses, 
mere  hearsay,  being  the  account  which  the  Is- 
sedonians gave  him  of  those  countries.  How- 
ever, I  shall  proceed  to  mention  all  that  I  have 
learnt  of  these  parts  by  the  most  exact  inquiries 
which  I  have  been  able  to  make  concerning 
them. 

17.  Above  the  mart  of  the  Borysthenites, 
which  is  situated  in  the  very  centre  of  the 
whole  sea-coast  of  Scythia,  the  first  people  who 
inhabit  the  land  are  the  Callipedae,  a  Graeco- 
Scythic  race.  Next  to  them,  as  you  go  inland, 
dwell  the  people  called  the  Alazonians.  These 
two  nations  in  other  respects   resemble  the 
Scythians  in  their  usages,  but  sow  and  eat  corn, 
also  onions,  garlic,  lentils,  and  millet.  Beyond 
the   Alazonians    reside   Scythian   cultivators, 
who  grow  corn,  not  for  their  own  use,  but  for 
sale.  Still  higher  up  are  the  Neuri.  Northwards 
of  the  Neuri  the  continent,  as  far  as  it  is  known 
to  us,  is  uninhabited.  These  are  the  nations 
along  the  course  of  the  river  Hypanis,  west  of 
the  Borysthenes. 


1 8.  Across  the  Borysthenes,  the  first  country 
after  you  leave  the  coast  is  Hylaea  (the  Wood- 
land). Above  this  dwell  the  Scythian  Husband- 
men, whom  the  Greeks  living  near  the  Hy- 
panis call  Borysthenites,  while  they  call  them- 
selves Olbiopolites.  These  Husbandmen  extend 
eastward  a  distance  of  three  days'  journey  to  a 
river  bearing  the  name  of  Panticapes,  while 
northward  the  country  is  theirs  for  eleven  days* 
sail  up  the  course  of  the  Borysthenes.  Further 
inland  there  is  a  vast  tract  which  is  uninhabit- 
ed. Above  this  desolate  region  dwell  the  Can- 
nibals, who  are  a  people  apart,  much  unlike  the 
Scythians.  Above  them  the  country  becomes  an 
utter  desert;  not  a  single  tribe,  so  far  as  we 
know,  inhabits  it. 

19.  Crossing  the  Panticapes,  and  proceeding 
eastward  of  the  Husbandmen,  we  come  upon 
the  wandering  Scythians,  who  neither  plough 
nor  sow.  Their  country,  and  the  whole  of  this 
region,  except  Hylaea,  is  quite  bare  of  trees. 
They  extend  towards  the  east  a  distance  of 
fourteen1   days'   journey,   occupying    a   tract 
which  reaches  to  the  river  Gerrhus. 

20.  On  the  opposite  side  of  the  Gerrhus  is 
the  Royal  district,  as  it  is  called:  here  dwells  the 
largest  and    bravest   of  the   Scythian   tribes, 
which  looks  upon  all  the  other  tribes  in  the 
light  of  slaves.  Its  country  reaches  on  the  south 
to  Taurica,  on  the  east  to  the  trench  dug  by  the 
sons  of  the  blind  slaves,  the  mart  upon  the 
Palus  Maeotis,  called  Cremni  (the  Cliffs),  and 
in  part  to  the  river  Tanais.  North  of  the  country 
of  the  Royal  Scythians  are  the  Melanchlaeni 
(Black-Robes),  a  people  of  quite  a  different 
race  from   the  Scythians.   Beyond  them   lie 
marshes  and  a  region  without  inhabitants,  so 
far  as  our  knowledge  reaches. 

21.  When  one  crosses  the  Tanais,  one  is  no 
longer  in  Scythia;  the  first  region  on  crossing 
is  that  of  the  Sauromatae,  who,  beginning  at 
the  upper  end  of  the  Palus  Maeotis,  stretch 
northward  a  distance  of  fifteen  days'  journey, 
inhabiting  a  country  which  is  entirely  bare  of 
trees,  whether  wild  or  cultivated.  Above  them, 
possessing  the  second  region,  dwell  the  Budini, 
whose  territory  is  thickly  wooded  with  trees  of 
every  kind. 

22.  Beyond  the  Budini,  as  one  goes  north- 
ward, first  there  is  a  desert,  seven  days'  journey 
across;  after  which,  if  one  inclines  somewhat 
to  the  east,  the  Thyssagetae  are  reached,  a  nu- 

1  Rennell  proposes  to  read  "four  days'  journey" 
— and  indeed  without  some  such  alteration  the  ge- 
ography of  this  part  of  Scythia  is  utterly  inexplica- 
ble. 


128 


HERODOTUS 


mcrous  nation  quite  distinct  from  any  other, 
and  living  by  the  chase.  Adjoining  them,  and 
within  the  limits  of  the  same  region,  are  the 
people  who  bear  the  name  of  lyrcae;  they  also 
support  themselves  by  hunting,  which  they 
practise  in  the  following  manner.  The  hunter 
climbs  a  tree,  the  whole  country  abounding  in 
wood,  and  there  sets  himself  in  ambush;  he 
has  a  dog  at  hand,  and  a  horse,  trained  to  lie 
down  upon  its  belly,  and  thus  make  itself  low; 
the  hunter  keeps  watch,  and  when  he  sees  his 
game,  lets  fly  an  arrow;  then  mounting  his 
horse,  he  gives  the  beast  chase,  his  dog  follow- 
ing hard  all  the  while.  Beyond  these  people,  a 
little  to  the  east,  dwells  a  distinct  tribe  of 
Scyths,  who  revolted  once  from  the  Royal 
Scythians,  and  migrated  into  these  parts. 

23.  As  far  as  their  country,  the  tract  of  land 
whereof  I  have  been  speaking  is  all  a  smooth 
plain,  and  the  soil  deep;  beyond  you  enter  on 
a  region  which  is  rugged  and  stony.  Passing 
over  a  great  extent  of  this  rough  country,  you 
come  to  a  people  dwelling  at  the  foot  of  lofty 
mountains,  who  are  said  to  be  all — both  men 
and  women — bald  from  their  birth,  to  have 
flat  noses,  and  very  long  chins.  These  people 
speak  a  language  of  their  own,  but  the  dress 
which  they  wear  is  the  same  as  the  Scythian. 
They  live  on  the  fruit  of  a  certain  tree,  the 
name  of  which  is  Ponticum;  in  size  it  is  about 
equal  to  our  fig-tree,  and  it  bears  a  fruit  like  a 
bean,  with  a  stone  inside.  When  the  fruit  is 
ripe,  they  strain  it  through  cloths;  the  juice 
which  runs  off  is  black  and  thick,  and  is  called 
by  the  natives  "aschy."  They  lap  this  up  with 
their  tongues,  and  also  mix  it  with  milk  for  a 
drink;  while  they  make  the  lees,  which  are  sol- 
id, into  cakes,  and  eat  them  instead  of  meat; 
for  they  have  but  few  sheep  in  their  country, 
in  which  there  is  no  good  pasturage.  Each  of 
them  dwells  under  a  tree,  and  they  cover  the 
tree  in  winter  with  a  cloth  of  thick  white  felt, 
but  take  off  the  covering  in  the  summer-time. 
No  one  harms  these  people,  for  they  are  looked 
upon  as  sacred — they  do  not  even  possess  any 
warlike  weapons.  When  their  neighbours  fall 
out,  they  make  up  the  quarrel;  and  when  one 
flies  to  them  for  refuge,  he  is  safe  from  all  hurt. 
They  are  called  the  Argippacans. 

24.  Up  to  this  point  the  territory  of  which 
we  are  speaking  is  very  completely  explored, 
and  all  the  nations  between  the  coast  and  the 
bald-headed  men  are  well  known  to  us.  For 
some  of  the  Scythians  are  accustomed  to  pene- 
trate as  far,  of  whom  inquiry  may  easily  be 
made,  and  Greeks  also  go  there  from  the  mart 


[BooK  IV 

on  the  Borysthenes,  and  from  the  other  marts 
along  the  Euxine.  The  Scythians  who  make 
this  journey  communicate  with  the  inhabitants 
by  means  of  seven  interpreters  and  seven  lan- 
guages. 

25.  Thus  far,  therefore,  the  land  is  known; 
but  beyond  the  bald-headed  men  lies  a  region 
of  which  no  one  can  give  any  exact  account. 
Lofty  and  precipitous  mountains,  which  are 
never  crossed,  bar  further  progress.  The  bald 
men  say,  but  it  does  not  seem  to  me  credible, 
that  the  people  who  live  in  these  mountains 
have  feet  like  goats;  and  that  after  passing  them 
you  find  another  race  of  men,  who  sleep  dur- 
ing one  half  of  the  year.  This  latter  statement 
appears  to  me  quite  unworthy  of  credit.  The 
region  east  of  the  bald-headed  men  is  well 
known  to  be  inhabited  by  the  Issedonians,  but 
the  tract  that  lies  to  the  north  of  these  two  na- 
tions is  entirely  unknown,  except  by  the  ac- 
counts which  they  give  of  it. 

26.  The  Issedonians  are  said  to  have  the  fol- 
lowing customs.  When  a  man's  father  dies,  all 
the  near  relatives  bring  sheep  to  the  house; 
which  are  sacrificed,   and   their  flesh  cut  in 
pieces,  while  at  the  same  time  the  dead  body 
undergoes  the  like  treatment.  The  two  sorts  of 
flesh  are  afterwards  mixed  together,  and  the 
whole  is  served  up  at  a  banquet.  The  head  of 
the  dead   man   is   treated   differently:    it   is 
stripped  bare,  cleansed,  and  set  in  gold.  It  then 
becomes  an  ornament  on  which  they  pride 
themselves,  and  is  brought  out  year  by  year  at 
the  great  festival  which  sons  keep  in  honour 
of  their  fathers'  death,  just  as  the  Greeks  keep 
their  Genesia.  In  other  respects  the  Issedonians 
are  reputed  to  be  observers  of  justice:  and  it  is 
to  be  remarked  that  their  women  have  equal 
authority  with  the  men.  Thus  our  knowledge 
extends  as  far  as  this  nation. 

27.  The  regions  beyond   are   known  only 
from  the  accounts  of  the  Issedonians,  by  whom 
the  stories  are  told  of  the  one-eyed  race  of  men 
and  the  gold-guarding  griffins.  These  stories 
are  received  by  the  Scythians  from  the  Issedo- 
nians, and  by  them  passed  on  to  us  Greeks: 
whence  it  arises  that  we  give  the  one-eyed  race 
the  Scythian  name  of  Arimaspi,  "arima"  being 
the  Scythic  word  for  "one,"  and  "spu"  for  "the 
eye." 

28.  The  whole  district  whereof  we  have  here 
discoursed  has  winters  of  exceeding  rigour. 
During  eight  months  the  frost  is  so  intense 
that  water  poured  upon  the  ground  does  not 
form  mud,  but  if  a  fire  be  lighted  on  it  mud  is 
produced.  The  sea  freezes,  and  the  Cimmer- 


23-33] 


THE  HISTORY 


129 


ian  Bosphorus  is  frozen  over.  At  that  season 
the  Scythians  who  dwell  inside  the  trench 
make  warlike  expeditions  upon  the  ice,  and 
even  drive  their  waggons  across  to  the  country 
of  the  Sindians.  Such  is  the  intensity  of  the 
cold  during  eight  months  out  of  the  twelve; 
and  even  in  the  remaining  four  the  climate  is 
still  cool.  The  character  of  the  winter  likewise 
is  unlike  that  of  the  same  season  in  any  other 
country;  for  at  that  time,  when  the  rains  ought 
to  fall  in  Scythia,  there  is  scarcely  any  rain 
worth  mentioning,  while  in  summer  it  never 
gives  over  raining;  and  thunder,  which  else- 
where is  frequent  then,  in  Scythia  is  unknown 
in  that  part  of  the  year,  coming  only  in  sum- 
mer, when  it  is  very  heavy.  Thunder  in  the 
winter-time  is  there  accounted  a  prodigy;  as 
also  are  earthquakes,  whether  they  happen  in 
winter  or  summer.  Horses  bear  the  winter 
well,  cold  as  it  is,  but  mules  and  asses  are  quite 
unable  to  bear  it;  whereas  in  other  countries 
mules  and  asses  are  found  to  endure  the  cold, 
while  horses,  if  they  stand  still,  are  frost-bitten. 

29.  To  me  it  seems  that  the  cold  may  like- 
wise be  the  cause  which  prevents  the  oxen  in 
Scythia  from  having  horns.  There  is  a  line  of 
Homer's  in  the  Odyssey  which  gives  a  support 
to  my  opinion: — 

Libya  too,  where  horns  bud  quic\  on  the  fore- 
heads of  lambkins.1 

He  means  to  say  what  is  quite  true,  that  in 
warm  countries  the  horns  come  early.  So  too 
in  countries  where  the  cold  is  severe  animals 
either  have  no  horns,  or  grow  them  with  diffi- 
culty— the  cold  being  the  cause  in  this  in- 
stance. 

30.  Here  I  must  express  my  wonder — addi- 
tions being  what  my  work  always  from  the 
very  first  affected — that  in  Elis,  where  the  cold 
is  not  remarkable,  and  there  is  nothing  else  to 
account  for  it,  mules  are  never  produced.  The 
Eleans  say  it  is  in  consequence  of  a  curse;  and 
their  habit  is,  when  the  breeding-time  comes, 
to  take  their  mares  into  one  of  the  adjoining 
countries,  and  there  keep  them  till  they  are  in 
foal,  when  they  bring  them  back  again  into  Elis. 

31.  With  respect  to  the  feathers  which  are 
said  by  the  Scythians  to  fill  the  air,  and  to  pre- 
vent persons  from  penetrating  into  the  remoter 
parts  of  the  continent,  or  even  having  any  view 
of  those  regions,  my  opinion  is  that  in  the 
countries  above  Scythia  it  always  snows — less, 
of  course,  in  the  summer  than  in  the  winter- 
time. Now  snow  when  it  falls  looks  like  feath- 

1  Odyssey,  Bk.  iv.  85. 


ers,  as  every  one  is  aware  who  has  seen  it  come 
down  close  to  him.  These  northern  regions, 
therefore,  are  uninhabitable  by  reason  of  the 
severity  of  the  winter;  and  the  Scythians,  with 
their  neighbours,  call  the  snow-flakes  feathers 
because,  I  think,  of  the  likeness  which  they 
bear  to  them.  I  have  now  related  what  is  said 
of  the  most  distant  parts  of  this  continent 
whereof  any  account  is  given. 

32.  Of  the  Hyperboreans  nothing  is  said 
either  by  the  Scythians  or  by  any  of  the  other 
dwellers  in  these  regions,  unless  it  be  the  Is- 
sedonians.  But  in  my  opinion,  even  the  Issedo- 
nians  are  silent  concerning  them;  otherwise 
the  Scythians  would  have  repeated  their  state- 
ments, as  they  do  those  concerning  the  one- 
eyed  men.  Hesiod,  however,  mentions  them, 
and  Homer  also  in  the  Epigoni,  if  that  be  real- 
ly a  work  of  his. 

33.  But  the  persons  who  have  by  far  the 
most  to  say  on  this  subject  are  the  Delians. 
They  declare  that  certain  offerings,  packed  in 
wheaten  straw,  were  brought  from  the  country 
of  the  Hyperboreans  into  Scythia,  and  that  the 
Scythians  received  them  and  passed  them  on 
to  their  neighbours  upon  the  west,  who  con- 
tinued to  pass  them  on  until  at  last  they  reached 
the  Adriatic.  From  hence  they  were  sent  south- 
ward, and  when  they  came  to  Greece,  were  re- 
ceived first  of  all  by  the  Dodonaeans.  Thence 
they  descended  to  the  Maliac  Gulf,  from  which 
they  were  carried  across  into  Euboea,  where  the 
people  handed  them  on  from  city  to  city,  till 
they  came  at  length  to  Carystus.  The  Carys- 
tians  took  them  over  to  Tenos,  without  stop- 
ping at  Andros;  and  the  Tenians  brought  them 
finally  to  Delos.  Such,  according  to  their  own 
account,  was  the  road  by  which  the  offerings 
reached  the  Delians.  Two  damsels,  they  say, 
named  Hyperoche'  and  Laodice,  brought  the 
first  offerings  from  the   Hyperboreans;  and 
with  them  the  Hyperboreans  sent  five  men  to 
keep  them  from  all  harm  by  the  way;  these  are 
the  persons  whom  the  Delians  call  "Perpher- 
ees,"  and  to  whom  great  honours  are  paid  at 
Delos.  Afterwards  the  Hyperboreans,  when 
they  found  that  their  messengers  did  not  re- 
turn, thinking  it  would  be  a  grievous  thing  al- 
ways to  be  liable  to  lose  the  envoys  they  should 
send,    adopted    the    following    plan: — they 
wrapped  their  offerings  in  the  wheaten  straw, 
and  bearing  them  to  their  borders,  charged 
their  neighbours  to  send  them  forward  from 
one  nation  to  another,  which  was  done  accord- 
ingly, and  in  this  way  the  offerings  reached 
Delos.  I  myself  know  of  a  practice  like  this, 


130 


HERODOTUS 


which  obtains  with  the  women  of  Thrace  and 
Paeonia.  They  in  their  sacrifices  to  the  queenly 
Diana  bring  wheaten  straw  always  with  their 
offerings.  Of  my  own  knowledge  I  can  testify 
that  this  is  so. 

34.  The  damsels  sent  by  the  Hyperboreans 
died  in  Delos;  and  in  their  honour  all  the  Deli- 
an  girls  and  youths  are  wont  to  cut  off  their 
hair.  The  girls,  before  their  marriage-day,  cut 
off  a  curl,  and  twining  it  round  a  distaff,  lay 
it  upon  the  grave  of  the  strangers.  This  grave 
is  on  the  left  as  one  enters  the  precinct  of  Di- 
ana, and  has  an  olive-tree  growing  on  it.  The 
youths  wind  some  of  their  hair  round  a  kind  of 
grass,  and,  like  the  girls,  place  it  upon  the 
tomb.  Such  are  the  honours  paid  to  these  dam- 
sels by  the  Delians. 

35.  They  add  that,  once  before,  there  came 
to  Delos  by  the  same  road  as  Hyperoch£  and 
Laodice,  two  other  virgins  from  the  Hyper- 
boreans, whose  names  were  Arg£  and  Opis. 
Hyperoche  and  Laodice  came  to  bring  to  Ili- 
thyia  the  offering  which  they  had  laid  upon 
themselves,    in    acknowledgment     of    their 
quick  labours;  but  Arge*  and  Opis  came  at  the 
same  time  as  the  gods  of  Delos,1  and  are  hon- 
oured by  the  Delians  in  a  different  way.  For 
the  Delian  women  make  collections  in  these 
maidens'  names,  and  invoke  them  in  the  hymn 
which  Olen,  a  Lycian,  composed  for  them;  and 
the  rest  of  the  islanders,  and  even  the  lonians, 
have  been  taught  by  the  Delians  to  do  the  like. 
This  Olen,  who  came  from  Lycia,  made  the 
other  old  hymns  also  which  are  sung  in  Delos. 
The   Delians  add  that  the  ashes   from  the 
thigh-bones  burnt  upon  the  altar  are  scattered 
over  the  tomb  of  Opis  and  Arge.  Their  tomb 
lies  behind  the  temple  of  Diana,  facing  the 
east,  near  the  banqueting-hall  of  the  Ceians. 
Thus  much  then,  and  no  more,  concerning  the 
Hyperboreans. 

36.  As  for  the  tale  of  Abaris,  who  is  said  to 
have  been  a  Hyperborean,  and  to  have  gone 
with  his  arrow  all  round  the  world  without 
once  eating,  I  shall  pass  it  by  in  silence.  Thus 
much,  however,  is  clear:  if  there  are  Hyperbor- 
eans, there  must  also  be  Hypernotians.  For  my 
part,  I  cannot  but  laugh  when  I  see  numbers 
of  persons  drawing  maps  of  the  world  without 
having  any  reason  to  guide  them;  making,  as 
they  do,  the  ocean-stream  to  run  all  round  the 
earth,  and  the  earth  itself  to  be  an  exact  circle, 
as  if  described  by  a  pair  of  compasses,  with 
Europe  and  Asia  just  of  the  same  size.  The 
truth  in  this  matter  I  will  now  proceed  to  ex- 

1  Apollo  and  Diana. 


[BOOK  rv 

plain  in  a  very  few  words,  making  it  clear  what 
the  real  size  of  each  region  is,  and  what  shape 
should  be  given  them. 

37.  The  Persians  inhabit  a  country  upon  the 
southern  or  Erythraean  sea;  above  them,  to  the 
north,  are  the  Medes;  beyond  the  Medes,  the 
Saspirians;  beyond  them,  the  Colchians,  reach- 
ing to  the  northern  sea,  into  which  the  Phasis 
empties  itself.  These  four  nations  fill  the  whole 
space  from  one  sea  to  the  other. 

38.  West  of  these  nations  there  project  into 
the  sea  two  tracts  which  I  will  now  describe; 
one,  beginning  at  the  river  Phasis  on  the  north, 
stretches  along  the  Euxine  and  the  Hellespont 
to  Sigeum  in  the  Troas;  while  on  the  south  it 
reaches  from  the  Myriandrian  gulf,  which  ad- 
joins Phoenicia,  to  the  Triopic  promontory. 
This  is  one  of  the  tracts,  and  is  inhabited  by 
thirty  different  nations. 

39.  The  other  starts  from  the  country  of  the 
Persians,  and  stretches  into  the  Erythraean  sea, 
containing  first  Persia,  then  Assyria,  and  after 
Assyria,  Arabia.  It  ends,  that  is  to  say,  it  is  con- 
sidered to  end,  though  it  does  not  really  come 
to  a  termination,  at  the  Arabian  gulf — the  gulf 
whereinto  Darius  conducted  the  canal  which 
he  made  from  the  Nile.  Between  Persia  and 
Phoenicia  lies  a  broad  and  ample  tract  of  coun- 
try, after  which  the  region  I  am  describing 
skirts  our  sea,  stretching  from  Phoenicia  along 
the  coast  of  Palestine-Syria  till  it  comes  to 
Egypt,  where  it  terminates.  This  entire  tract 
contains  but  three  nations.  The  whole  of  Asia 
west  of  the  country  of  the  Persians  is  com- 
prised in  these  two  regions. 

40.  Beyond  the  tract  occupied  by  the  Per- 
sians, Medes,  Saspirians,  and  Colchians,  to- 
wards the  east  and  the  region  of  the  sunrise, 
Asia  is  bounded  on  the  south  by  the  Erythrae- 
an sea,  and  on  the  north  by  the  Caspian  and 
the  river  Araxes,  which  flows  towards  the  ris- 
ing sun.  Till  you  reach  India  the  country  is 
peopled;  but  further  east  it  is  void  of  inhabi- 
tants, and  no  one  can  say  what  sort  of  region 
it  is.  Such  then  is  the  shape,  and  such  the  size 
of  Asia. 

41.  Libya  belongs  to  one  of  the  above-men- 
tioned tracts,  for  it  adjoins  on  Egypt.  In  Egypt 
the  tract  is  at  first  a  narrow  neck,  the  distance 
from  our  sea  to  the  Erythraean  not  exceeding  a 
hundred  thousand  fathoms,  or,  in  other  words, 
a   thousand    furlongs;   but   from    the   point 
where  the  neck  ends,  the  tract  which  bears  the 
name  of  Libya  is  of  very  great  breadth. 

42.  For  my  part  I  am  astonished  that  men 
should  ever  have  divided  Libya,  Asia,  and  Eu- 


34-45] 


THE  HISTORY 


131 


rope  as  they  have,  for  they  are  exceedingly  un- 
equal. Europe  extends  the  entire  length  of  the 
other  two,  and  for  breadth  will  not  even  (as  I 
think)  bear  to  be  compared  to  them.  As  for 
Libya,  we  know  it  to  be  washed  on  all  sides  by 
the  sea,  except  where  it  is  attached  to  Asia. 
This  discovery  was  first  made  by  Necos,  the 
Egyptian  king,  who  on  desisting  from  the 
canal  which  he  had  begun  between  the  Nile 
and  the  Arabian  gulf,  sent  to  sea  a  number  of 
ships  manned  by  Phoenicians,  with  orders  to 
make  for  the  Pillars  of  Hercules,  and  return  to 
Egypt  through  them,  and  by  the  Mediterran- 
ean. The  Phoenicians  took  their  departure 
from  Egypt  by  way  of  the  Erythraean  sea,  and 
so  sailed  into  the  southern  ocean.  When  au- 
tumn came,  they  went  ashore,  wherever  they 
might  happen  to  be,  and  having  sown  a  tract 
of  land  with  corn,  waited  until  the  grain  was 
fit  to  cut.  Having  reaped  it,  they  again  set  sail; 
and  thus  it  came  to  pass  that  two  whole  years 
went  by,  and  it  was  not  till  the  third  year  that 
they  doubled  the  Pillars  of  Hercules,  and  made 
good  their  voyage  home.  On  their  return,  they 
declared — I  for  my  part  do  not  believe  them, 
but  perhaps  others  may — that  in  sailing  round 
Libya  they  had  the  sun  upon  their  right  hand.  In 
this  way  was  the  extent  of  Libya  first  discovered. 
43.  Next  to  these  Phoenicians  the  Carthagin- 
ians, according  to  their  own  accounts,  made 
the  voyage.  For  Sataspes,  son  of  Teaspes  the 
Achaemenian,  did  not  circumnavigate  Libya, 
though  he  was  sent  to  do  so;  but,  fearing  the 
length  and  desolateness  of  the  journey,  he 
turned  back  and  left  unaccomplished  the  task 
which  had  been  set  him  by  his  mother.  This 
man  had  used  violence  towards  a  maiden,  the 
daughter  of  Zopyrus,  son  of  Megabyzus,  and 
King  Xerxes  was  about  to  impale  him  for  the 
offence,  when  his  mother,  who  was  a  sister  of 
Darius,  begged  him  off,  undertaking  to  punish 
his  crime  more  heavily  than  the  king  himself 
had  designed.  She  would  force  him,  she  said,  to 
sail  round  Libya  and  return  to  Egypt  by  the 
Arabian  gulf.  Xerxes  gave  his  consent;  and 
Sataspes  went  down  to  Egypt,  and  there  got  a 
ship  and  crew,  with  which  he  set  sail  for  the 
Pillars  of  Hercules.  Having  passed  the  Straits, 
he  doubled  the  Libyan  headland,  known  as 
Cape  Soloeis,  and  proceeded  southward.  Fol- 
lowing this  course  for  many  months  over  a  vast 
stretch  of  sea,  and  finding  that  more  water 
than  he  had  crossed  still  lay  ever  before  him, 
he  put  about,  and  came  back  to  Egypt.  Thence 
proceeding  to  the  court,  he  made  report  to 
Xerxes,  that  at  the  farthest  point  to  which  he 


had  reached,  the  coast  was  occupied  by  a 
dwarfish  race,  who  wore  a  dress  made  from  the 
palm  tree.  These  people,  whenever  he  landed, 
left  their  towns  and  fled  away  to  the  moun- 
tains; his  men,  however,  did  them  no  wrong, 
only  entering  into  their  cities  and  taking  some 
of  their  cattle.  The  reason  why  he  had  not 
sailed  quite  round  Libya  was,  he  said,  because 
the  ship  stopped,  and  would  no  go  any  further. 
Xerxes,  however,  did  not  accept  this  account 
for  true;  and  so  Sataspes,  as  he  had  failed  to  ac- 
complish the  task  set  him,  was  impaled  by  the 
king's  orders  in  accordance  with  the  former 
sentence.  One  of  his  eunuchs,  on  hearing  of 
his  death,  ran  away  with  a  great  portion  of  his 
wealth,  and  reached  Samos,  where  a  certain 
Samian  seized  the  whole.  I  know  the  man's 
name  well,  but  I  shall  willingly  forget  it  here. 

44.  Of  the  greater  part  of  Asia  Darius  was 
the  discoverer.  Wishing  to  know  where  the 
Indus  (which  is  the  only  river  save  one  that 
produces  crocodiles)  emptied  itself  into  the  sea, 
he  sent  a  number  of  men,  on  whose  truthful- 
ness he  could  rely,  and  among  them  Scylax  of 
Caryanda,  to  sail  down  the  river.  They  started 
from  the  city  of  Caspatyrus,  in  the  region 
called  Pactyi'ca,  and  sailed  down  the  stream  in 
an  easterly  direction  to  the  sea.  Here  they 
turned  westward,  and,  after  a  voyage  of  thirty 
months,  reached  the  place  from  which  the 
Egyptian  king,  of  whom  I  spoke  above,  sent 
the  Phoenicians  to  sail  round  Libya.  After  this 
voyage  was  completed,  Darius  conquered  the 
Indians,  and  made  use  of  the  sea  in  those  parts. 
Thus  all  Asia,  except  the  eastern  portion,  has 
been  found  to  be  similarly  circumstanced  with 
Libya. 

45.  But  the  boundaries  of  Europe  are  quite 
unknown,  and  there  is  not  a  man  who  can  say 
whether  any  sea  girds  it  round  cither  on  the 
north  or  on  the  east,  while  in  length  it  un- 
doubtedly extends  as  far  as  both  the  other  two. 
For  my  part  I  cannot  conceive  why  three 
names,  and  women's  names  especially,  should 
ever  have  been  given  to  a  tract  which  is  in  re- 
ality one,  nor  why  the  Egyptian  Nile  and  the 
Colchian  Phasis  (or  according  to  others  the 
Maeotic  Tanais  and  Cimmerian  ferry)  should 
have  been  fixed  upon  for  the  boundary  lines; 
nor  can  I  even  say  who  gave  the  three  tracts 
their  names,  or  whence  they  took  the  epithets. 
According  to  the  Greeks  in  general,  Libya  was 
so  called  after  a  certain  Libya,  a  native  woman, 
and  Asia  after  the  wife  of  Prometheus.  The 
Lydians,  however,  put  in  a  claim  to  the  latter 
name,  which,  they  declare,  was  not  derived 


132  HERODOTUS 

from  Asia  the  wife  of  Prometheus,  but  from 
Asies,  the  son  of  Cotys,  and  grandson  of 
Manes,  who  also  gave  name  to  the  tribe  Asias 
at  Sardis.  As  for  Europe,  no  one  can  say 
whether  it  is  surrounded  by  the  sea  or  not, 
neither  is  it  known  whence  the  name  of  Eu- 
rope was  derived,  nor  who  gave  it  name,  un- 
less we  say  that  Europe  was  so  called  after  the 
Tyrian  Europe,  and  before  her  time  was  name- 
less, like  the  other  divisions.  But  it  is  certain 
that  Europe*  was  an  Asiatic,  and  never  even  set 
foot  on  the  land  which  the  Greeks  now  call 
Europe,  only  sailing  from  Phoenicia  to  Crete, 
and  from  Crete  to  Lycia.  However  let  us  quit 
these  matters.  We  shall  ourselves  continue  to 
use  the  names  which  custom  sanctions. 

46.  The  Euxine  sea,  where  Darius  now  went 
to  war,  has  nations  dwelling  around  it,  with 
the  one  exception  of  the  Scythians,  more  un- 
polished than  those  of  any  other  region  that  we 
know  of.  For,  setting  aside  Anacharsis  and  the 
Scythian  people,  there  is  not  within  this  region 
a  single  nation  which  can  be  put  forward  as 
having  any  claims  to  wisdom,  or  which  has 
produced  a  single  person  of  any  high  repute. 
The  Scythians  indeed  have  in  one  respect,  and 
that  the  very  most  important  of  all  those  that 
fall  under  man's  control,  shown  themselves 
wiser  than  any  nation  upon  the  face  of  the 
earth.  Their  customs  otherwise  are  not  such  as 
I  admire.  The  one  thing  of  which  I  speak  is 
the  contrivance  whereby  they  make  it  impos- 
sible for  the  enemy  who  invades  them  to  es- 
cape destruction,  while  they  themselves  are  en- 
tirely out  of  his  reach,  unless  it  please  them  to 
engage  with  him.  Having  neither  cities  nor 
forts,  and  carrying  their  dwellings  with  them 
wherever  they  go;  accustomed,  moreover,  one 
and  all  of  them,  to  shoot  from  horseback;  and 
living  not  by  husbandry  but  on  their  cattle, 
their  waggons  the  only  houses  that  they  pos- 
sess, how  can  they  fail  of  being  unconquerable, 
and  unassailable  even? 

47.  The  nature  of  their  country,  and  the  riv- 
ers by  which  it  is  intersected,  greatly  favour 
this  mode  of  resisting  attacks.  For  the  land  is 
level,  well  watered,  and  abounding  in  pasture; 
while  the  rivers  which  traverse  it  are  almost 
equal  in  number  to  the  canals  of  Egypt.  Of 
these  I  shall  only  mention  the  most  famous  and 
such  as  are  navigable  to  some  distance  from  the 
sea.  They  are,  the  Ister,  which  has  five  mouths; 
the  Tyras,  the  Hypanis,  the  Borysthenes,  the 
Panticapes,  the  Hypacyris,  the  Gerrhus,  and 
the  Tanais.  The  courses  of  these  streams  I  shall 
now  proceed  to  describe. 


[BooK  iv 

48.  The  Ister  is  of  all  the  rivers  with  which 
we  are  acquainted  the  mightiest.  It  never  var- 
ies in  height,  but  continues  at  the  same  level 
summer  and  winter.  Counting  from  the  west 
it  is  the  first  of  the  Scythian  rivers,  and  the 
reason  of  its  being  the  greatest  is  that  it  re- 
ceives the  water  of  several  tributaries.  Now  the 
tributaries  which  swell  its  flood  are  the  follow- 
ing: first,  on  the  side  of  Scythia,  these  five — 
the  stream  called  by  the  Scythians  Porata,  and 
by    the  Greeks  Pyretus,   the  Tiarantus,   the 
Ararus,  the  Naparis,  and  the  Ordessus.  The 
first  mentioned  is  a  great  stream,  and  is  the 
easternmost  of  the  tributaries.  The  Tiarantus 
is  of  less  volume,  and  more  to  the  west.  The 
Ararus,  Naparis,  and  Ordessus  fall  into  the 
Ister  between  these  two.  All  the  above  men- 
tioned are  genuine  Scythian  rivers,  and  go  to 
swell  the  current  of  the  Ister. 

49.  From  the  country  of  the  Agathyrsi  comes 
down  another  river,  the  Maris,  which  empties 
itself  into  the  same;  and  from  the  heights  of 
Haemus  descend  with  a  northern  course  three 
mighty  streams,  the  Atlas,  the  Auras,  and  the 
Tibisis,  and  pour  their  waters  into  it.  Thrace 
gives  it  three  tributaries,  the  Athrys,  the  Noes, 
and  the  Artanes,  which  all  pass  through  the 
country  of  the  Crobyzian  Thracians.  Another 
tributary  is  furnished  by  Paeonia,  namely,  the 
Scius;  this  river,  rising  near  Mount  Rhodope, 
forces  its  way  through  the  chain  of  Haemus,1 
and  so  reaches  the  Ister.  From  Illyria  comes 
another    stream,   the   Angrus,   which   has    a 
course  from  south  to  north,  and  after  watering 
the  Triballian  plain,  falls  into  the  Brongus, 
which  falls  into  the  Ister.  So  the  Ister  is  aug- 
mented by  these  two  streams,  both  consider- 
able. Besides  all  these,  the  Ister  receives  also 
the  waters  of  the  Carpis  and  the  Alpis,  two 
rivers  running  in  a  northerly  direction  from 
the  country  above  the  Umbrians.  For  the  Ister 
flows  through  the  whole  extent  of  Europe,  ris- 
ing in  the  country  of  the  Celts  (the  most  west- 
erly of  all  the  nations  of  Europe,  excepting  the 
Cynetians),  and   thence  running  across  the 
continent  till   it  reaches  Scythia,  whereof  it 
washes  the  flanks. 

50.  All  these  streams,  then,  and  many  others, 
add  their  waters  to  swell  the  flood  of  the  Ister, 
which  thus  increased  becomes  the  mightiest  of 
rivers;  for  undoubtedly  if  we  compare  the 
stream  of  the  Nile  with  the  single  stream  of  the 
Ister,  we  must  give  the  preference  to  the  Nile, 
of  which  no  tributary  river,  nor  even  rivulet, 

1  This  is  untrue.   No  stream  forces  its   way 
through  this  chain. 


46-57] 


THE  HISTORY 


133 


augments  the  volume.  The  Ister  remains  at 
the  same  level  both  summer  and  winter — 
owing  to  the  following  reasons,  as  I  believe. 
During  the  winter  it  runs  at  its  natural  height, 
or  a  very  little  higher,  because  in  those  coun- 
tries there  is  scarcely  any  rain  in  winter,  but 
constant  snow.  When  summer  comes,  this 
snow,  which  is  of  great  depth,  begins  to  melt, 
and  flows  into  the  Ister,  which  is  swelled  at 
that  season,  not  only  by  this  cause  but  also  by 
the  rains,  which  are  heavy  and  frequent  at  that 
part  of  the  year.  Thus  the  various  streams 
which  go  to  form  the  Ister  are  higher  in  sum- 
mer than  in  winter,  and  just  so  much  higher 
as  the  sun's  power  and  attraction  are  greater; 
so  that  these  two  causes  counteract  each  other, 
and  the  effect  is  to  produce  a  balance,  whereby 
the  Ister  remains  always  at  the  same  level. 

51.  This,  then,  is  one  of  the  great  Scythian 
rivers;  the  next  to  it  is  the  Tyras,  which  rises 
from  a  great  lake  separating  Scythia  from  the 
land  of  the  Neuri,  and  runs  with  a  southerly 
course  to  the  sea.  Greeks  dwell  at  the  mouth 
of  the  river,  who  are  called  Tyritae. 

52.  The  third  river  is  the  Hypanis.  This 
stream  rises  within  the  limits  of  Scythia,  and 
has  its  source  in  another  vast  lake,  around 
which  wild  white  horses  graze.  The  lake  is 
called,  properly  enough,  the  Mother  of  the 
Hypanis.  The  Hypanis,  rising  here,  during  the 
distance  of  five  clays'  navigation  is  a  shallow 
stream,  and  the  water  sweet  and  pure;  thence, 
however,  to  the  sea,  which  is  a  distance  of  four 
days,  it  is  exceedingly  bitter.  This  change  is 
caused  by  its  receiving  into  it  at  that  point  a 
brook  the  waters  of  which  are  so  bitter  that,  al- 
though it  is  but  a  tiny  rivulet,  it  nevertheless 
taints  the  entire  Hypanis,  which   is  a  large 
stream  among  those  of  the  second  order.  The 
source  of  this  bitter  spring  is  on  the  borders  of 
the  Scythian  Husbandmen,  where  they  adjoin 
upon  the  Alazonians;  and  the  place  where  it 
rises  is  called  in  the  Scythic  tongue  Exampxus, 
which  means  in  our  language,  "The  Sacred 
Ways."  The  spring  itself  bears  the  same  name. 
The  Tyras  and  the  Hypanis  approach  each 
other  in  the  country  of  the  Alazonians,  but 
afterwards  separate,  and  leave  a  wide  space  be- 
tween their  streams. 

53.  The  fourth  of  the  Scythian  rivers  is  the 
Borysthenes.  Next  to  the  Ister,  it  is  the  greatest 
of  them  all;  and,  in  my  judgment,  it  is  the  most 
productive  river,  not  merely  in  Scythia,  but  in 
the  whole  world,  excepting  only  the  Nile,  with 
which  no  stream  can  possibly  compare.  It  has 
upon  its  banks  the  loveliest  and  most  excellent 


pasturages  for  cattle;  it  contains  abundance  of 
the  most  delicious  fish;  its  water  is  most  pleas- 
ant to  the  taste;  its  stream  is  limpid,  while  all 
the  other  rivers  near  it  are  muddy;  the  richest 
harvests  spring  up  along  its  course,  and  where 
the  ground  is  not  sown,  the  heaviest  crops  of 
grass;  while  salt  forms  in  great  plenty  about  its 
mouth  without  human  aid,  and  large  fish  are 
taken  in  it  of  the  sort  called  Antacaei,  without 
any  prickly  bones,  and  good  for  pickling.  Nor 
are  these  the  whole  of  its  marvels.  As  far  in- 
land as  the  place  named  Gerrhus,  which  is  dis- 
tant forty  days'  voyage  from  the  sea,  its  course 
is  known,  and  its  direction  is  from  north  to 
south;  but  above  this  no  one  has  traced  it,  so  as 
to  say  through  what  countries  it  flows.  It  enters 
the  territory  of  the  Scythian  Husbandmen  after 
running  for  some  time  across  a  desert  region, 
and  continues  for  ten  days'  navigation  to  pass 
through  the  land  which  they  inhabit.  It  is  the 
only  river  besides  the  Nile  the  sources  of  which 
are  unknown  to  me,  as  they  are  also  (I  believe) 
to  all  the  other  Greeks.  Not  long  before  it 
reaches  the  sea,  the  Borysthenes  is  joined  by  the 
Hypanis,  which  pours  its  waters  into  the  same 
lake.  The  land  that  lies  between  them,  a  nar- 
row point  like  the  beak  of  a  ship,  is  called  Cape 
Hippolaiis.  Here  is  a  temple  dedicated  to 
Ceres,  and  opposite  the  temple  upon  the  Hy- 
panis is  the  dwelling-place  of  the  Borysthenites. 
But  enough  has  been  said  of  these  streams. 

54.  Next  in  succession  comes  the  fifth  river, 
called  the  Panticapes,  which  has,  like  the  Borys- 
thenes, a  course  from  north  to  south,  and  rises 
from  a  lake.  The  space  between  this  river  and 
the  Borysthenes  is  occupied  by  the  Scythians 
who  are  engaged  in  husbandry.  After  watering 
their  country,  the  Panticapes  flows  through 
Hyla-a,  and  empties  itself  into  the  Borysthenes. 

55.  The  sixth  stream  is  the  Hypacyris,  a 
river  rising  from  a  lake,  and  running  directly 
through  the  middle  of  the  Nomadic  Scythians. 
It  falls  into  the  sea  near  the  city  of  Carcinitis, 
leaving  Hylaea  and  the  course  of  Achilles  to  the 
right. 

56.  The  seventh  river  is  the  Gerrhus,  which 
is  a  branch  thrown  out  by  the  Borysthenes  at 
the  point  where  the  course  of  that  stream  first 
begins  to  be  known,  to  wit,  the  region  called 
by  the  same  name  as  the  stream  itself,  viz. 
Gerrhus.  This  river  on  its  passage  towards 
the  sea  divides  the  country  of  the  Nomadic 
from  that  of  the  Royal  Scyths.  It  runs  into  the 
Hypacyris. 

57.  The  eighth  river  is  the  Tanais,  a  stream 
which  has  its  source,  far  up  the  country,  in  a 


134  HERODOTUS 

lake  of  vast  size,  and  which  empties  itself  into 
another  still  larger  lake,  the  Palus  Maeotis, 
whereby  the  country  of  the  Royal  Scythians  is 
divided  from  that  of  the  Sauromatae.  The 
Tanais  receives  the  waters  of  a  tributary 
stream,  called  the  Hyrgis. 

58.  Such  then  are  the  rivers  of  chief  note  in 
Scythia.  The  grass  which  the  land  produces  is 
more  apt  to  generate  gall  in  the  beasts  that  feed 
on  it  than  any  other  grass  which  is  known  to 
us,  as  plainly  appears  on  the  opening  of  their 
carcases. 

59.  Thus  abundantly  are  the  Scythians  pro- 
vided with  the  most  important   necessaries. 
Their  manners  and  customs  come  now  to  be 
described.  They  worship  only  the  following 
gods,  namely,  Vesta,  whom  they  reverence  be- 
yond all  the  rest,  Jupiter,  and  Tellus,  whom 
they  consider  to  be  the  wife  of  Jupiter;  and 
after  these  Apollo,  Celestial  Venus,  Hercules, 
and  Mars.  These  gods  are  worshipped  by  the 
whole  nation:  the  Royal  Scythians  offer  sacri- 
fice likewise  to  Neptune.  In  the  Scythic  tongue 
Vesta  is  called  Tahiti,  Jupiter  (very  properly, 
in  my  judgment)  Papceus,  Tellus  Apia,  Apollo 
(Etosyrus,   Celestial    Venus   Artlmpasa,   and 
Neptune  Thamimasadas.  They  use  no  images, 
altars,  or  temples,  except  in  the  worship  of 
Mars;  but  in  his  worship  they  do  use  them. 

60.  The  manner  of  their  sacrifices  is  every- 
where and  in  every  case  the  same;  the  victim 
stands  with  its  two  fore-feet  bound  together  by 
a  cord,  and  the  person  who  is  about  to  offer, 
taking  his  station  behind  the  victim,  gives  the 
rope  a  pull,  and  thereby  throws  the  animal 
down;  as  it  falls  he  invokes  the  god  to  whom 
he  is  offering;  after  which  he  puts  a  noose 
round  the  animal's  neck,  and,  inserting  a  small 
stick,  twists  it  round,  and  so  strangles  him.  No 
fire  is  lighted,  there  is  no  consecration,  and  no 
pouring  out  of  drink-offerings;  but  directly 
that  the  beast  is  strangled  the  sacnficer  flays 
him,  and  then  sets  to  work  to  boil  the  flesh. 

6 1.  As  Scythia,  however,  is  utterly  barren  of 
firewood,  a  plan  has  had  to  be  contrived  for 
boiling  the  flesh,  which  is  the  following.  After 
flaying  the  beasts,  they  take  out  all  the  bones, 
and  (if  they  possess  such  gear)  put  the  flesh 
into  boilers  made  in  the  country,  which  are 
very  like  the  cauldrons  of  the  Lesbians,  ex- 
cept that  they  are  of  a  much  larger  size;  then 
placing  the  bones  of  the  animals  beneath  the 
cauldron,  they  set  them  alight,  and  so  boil  the 
meat.  If  they  do  not  happen  to  possess  a  cauld- 
ron, they  make  the  animal's  paunch  hold  the 
flesh,  and  pouring  in  at  the  same  time  a  little 


[BooK  iv 

water,  lay  the  bones  under  and  light  them. 
The  bones  burn  beautifully;  and  the  paunch 
easily  contains  all  the  flesh  when  it  is  stript 
from  the  bones,  so  that  by  this  plan  your  ox  is 
made  to  boil  himself,  and  other  victims  also 
to  do  the  like.  When  the  meat  is  all  cooked,  the 
sacrificer  offers  a  portion  of  the  flesh  and  of 
the  entrails,  by  casting  it  on  the  ground  before 
him.  They  sacrifice  all  sorts  of  cattle,  but  most 
commonly  horses. 

62.  Such  are  the  victims  offered  to  the  other 
gods,  and  such  is  the  mode  in  which  they  are 
sacrificed;  but  the  rites  paid  to  Mars  are  dif- 
ferent. In  every  district,  at  the  seat  of  govern- 
ment, there  stands  a  temple  of  this  god,  where- 
of the  following  is  a  description.  It  is  a  pile  of 
brushwood,  made  of  a  vast  quantity  of  fagots, 
in  length  and  breadth  three  furlongs;  in  height 
somewhat  less,  having  a  square  platform  upon 
the  top,  three  sides  of  which  are  precipitous, 
while  the  fourth  slopes  so  that  men  may  walk 
up  it.  Each  year  a  hundred  and  fifty  waggon- 
loads  of  brushwood  are  added  to  the  pile, 
which  sinks  continually  by  reason  of  the  rains. 
An  antique  iron  sword  is  planted  on  the  top  of 
every  such  mound,  and  serves  as  the  image  of 
Mars:  yearly  sacrifices  of  cattle  and  of  horses 
are  made  to  it,  and  more  victims  are  offered 
thus  than  to  all  the  rest  of  their  gods.  When 
prisoners  are  taken  in  war,  out  of  every  hun- 
dred men  they  sacrifice  one,  not  however  with 
the  same  rites  as  the  cattle,  but  with  different. 
Libations  of  wine  are  first  poured  upon  their 
heads,  after  which  they  are  slaughtered  over 
a  vessel;  the  vessel  is  then  carried  up  to  the  top 
of  the  pile,  and  the  blood  poured  upon  the 
scymitar.  While  this  takes  place  at  the  top  of 
the  mound,  below,  by  the  side  of  the  temple, 
the  right  hands  and  arms  of  the  slaughtered 
prisoners  are  cut  off,  and  tossed  on  high  into 
the  air.  Then  the  other  victims  are  slain,  and 
those  who  have  offered  the  sacrifice  depart, 
leaving  the  hands  and  arms  where  they  may 
chance  to  have  fallen,  and  the  bodies  also, 
separate. 

63.  Such  are  the  observances  of  the  Scythians 
with  respect  to  sacrifice.  They  never  use  swine 
for  the  purpose,  nor  indeed  is  it  their  wont  to 
breed  them  in  any  part  of  their  country. 

64.  In  what  concerns  war,  their  customs  are 
the  following.  The  Scythian  soldier  drinks  the 
blood  of  the  first  man  he  overthrows  in  battle. 
Whatever  number  he  slays,  he  cuts  off  all  their 
heads,  and  carries  them  to  the  king;  since  he 
is  thus  entitled  to  a  share  of  the  booty,  whereto 
he  forfeits  all  claim  if  he  does  not  produce  a 


58-69] 

head.  In  order  to  strip  the  skull  of  its  covering, 
he  makes  a  cut  round  the  head  above  the  ears, 
and,  laying  hold  of  the  scalp,  shakes  the  skull 
out;  then  with  the  rib  of  an  ox  he  scrapes  the 
scalp  clean  of  flesh,  and  softening  it  by  rubbing 
between  the  hands,  uses  it  thenceforth  as  a 
napkin.  The  Scyth  is  proud  of  these  scalps,  and 
hangs  them  from  his  bridle-rein;  the  greater 
the  number  of  such  napkins  that  a  man  can 
show,  the  more  highly  is  he  esteemed  among 
them.  Many  make  themselves  cloaks,  like  the 
capotes  of  our  peasants,  by  sewing  a  quantity 
of  these  scalps  together.  Others  flay  the  right 
arms  of  their  dead  enemies,  and  make  of  the 
skin,  which  is  stripped  oft  with  the  nails  hang- 
ing to  it,  a  covering  for  their  quivers.  Now  the 
skin  of  a  man  is  thick  and  glossy,  and  would 
in  whiteness  surpass  almost  all  other  hides. 
Some  even  flay  the  entire  body  of  their  enemy, 
and  stretching  it  upon  a  frame  carry  it  about 
with  them  wherever  they  ride.  Such  are  the 
Scythian  customs  with  respect  to  scalps  and 
skins. 

65.  The  skulls  of  their  enemies,  not  indeed 
of  all,  but  of  those  whom  they  most  detest,  they 
treat  as  follows.  Having  sawn  off  the  portion 
below  the  eyebrows,  and  cleaned  out  the  inside, 
they  cover  the  outside  with  leather.  When  a 
man  is  poor,  this  is  all  that  he  does;  but  if  he  is 
rich,  he  also  lines  the  inside  with  gold:  in 
either  case  the  skull  is  used  as  a  drinkmg-cup. 
They  do  the  same  with  the  skulls  of  their  own 
kith  and  kin  if  they  have  been  at  feud  with 
them,  and  have  vanquished  them  in  the  pres- 
ence of  the  king.  When  strangers  whom  they 
deem  of  any  account  come  to  visit  them,  these 
skulls  are  handed  round,  and  the  host  tells  how 
that  these  were  his  relations  who  made  war 
upon  him,  and  how  that  he  got  the  better  of 
them;  all  this  being  looked  upon  as  proof  of 
bravery. 

66.  Once  a  year  the  governor  of  each  district, 
at  a  set  place  in  his  own  province,  mingles  a 
bowl  of  wine,  of  which  all  Scythians  have  a 
right  to  drink  by  whom  foes  have  been  slain; 
while  they  who  have  slain  no  enemy  are  not 
allowed  to  taste  of  the  bowl,  but  sit  aloof  in 
disgrace.  No  greater  shame  than  this  can  hap- 
pen to  them.  Such  as  have  slain  a  very  large 
number  of  foes,  have  two  cups  instead  of  one, 
and  drink  from  both. 

67.  Scythia  has  an  abundance  of  soothsayers, 
who  foretell  the  future  by  means  of  a  number 
of  willow  wands.  A  large  bundle  of  these 
wands  is  brought  and  laid  on  the  ground.  The 
soothsayer  unties  the  bundle,  and  places  each 


THE  HISTORY 


135 


wand  by  itself,  at  the  same  time  uttering  his 
prophecy:  then,  while  he  is  still  speaking,  he 
gathers  the  rods  together  again,  and  makes 
them  up  once  more  into  a  bundle.  This  mode 
of  divination  is  of  home  growth  in  Scythia. 
The  Enarees,  or  woman-like  men,  have  another 
method,  which  they  say  Venus  taught  them. 
It  is  done  with  the  inner  bark  of  the  linden- 
tree.  They  take  a  piece  of  this  bark,  and,  split- 
ting it  into  three  strips,  keep  twining  the  strips 
about  their  fingers,  and  untwining  them,  while 
they  prophesy. 

68.  Whenever  the  Scythian  king  falls  sick, 
he  sends  for  the  three  soothsayers  of  most  re- 
nown at  the  time,  who  come  and  make  trial  of 
their  art  in  the  mode  above  described.  Gen- 
erally they  say  that  the  king  is  ill  because  such 
or  such  a  person,  mentioning  his  name,  has 
sworn  falsely  by  the  royal  hearth.  This  is  the 
usual  oath  among  the  Scythians,  when  they 
wish  to  swear  with  very  great  solemnity.  Then 
the  man  accused  of  having  foresworn  himself 
is  arrested  and  brought  before  the  king.  The 
soothsayers  tell  him  that  by  their  art  it  is  clear 
he  has  sworn  a  false  oath  by  the  royal  hearth, 
and  so  caused  the  illness  of  the  king — he  de- 
nies the  charge,  protests  that  he  has  sworn  no 
false  oath,  and  loudly  complains  of  the  wrong 
done  to  him.  Upon  this  the  king  sends  for  six 
new  soothsayers,  who  try  the  matter  by  sooth- 
saying. If  they  too  find  the  man  guilty  of  the 
offence,  straightway  he  is  beheaded  by  those 
who  first  accused  him,  and  his  goods  are  part- 
ed among  them:  if,  on  the  contrary,  they  acquit 
him,  other  soothsayers,  and  again  others,  are 
sent  for,  to  try  the  case.  Should  the  greater 
number  decide  in  favour  of  the  man's  inno- 
cence, then  they  who  first  accused  him  forfeit 
their  lives. 

69.  The  mode  of  their  execution  is  the  fol- 
lowing: a  waggon  is  loaded  with  brushwood, 
and  oxen  are  harnessed  to  it;  the  soothsayers, 
with  their  feet  tied  together,  their  hands  bound 
behind  their  backs,  and  their  mouths  gagged, 
are  thrust  into  the  midst  of  the  brushwood; 
finally  the  wood  is  set  alight,  and  the  oxen, 
being  startled,  are  made  to  rush  off  with  the 
waggon.  It  often  happens  that  the  oxen  and 
the  soothsayers  are  both  consumed  together, 
but  sometimes  the  pole  of  the  waggon  is  burnt 
through,  and  the  oxen  escape  with  a  scorching. 
Diviners — lying  diviners,  they  call  them — are 
burnt  in  the  way  described,  for  other  causes  be- 
sides the  one  here  spoken  of.  When  the  king 
puts  one  of  them  to  death,  he  takes  care  not  to 
let  any  of  his  sons  survive:  all  the  male  off- 


136 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK  iv 


spring  arc  slain  with  the  father,  only  the  fe- 
males being  allowed  to  live. 

70.  Oaths  among  the  Scyths  are  accompa- 
nied with  the  following  ceremonies:  a  large 
carthern  bowl  is  filled  with  wine,  and  the  par- 
ties to  the  oath,  wounding  themselves  slightly 
with  a  knife  or  an  awl,  drop  some  of  their 
blood  into  the  wine;  then  they  plunge  into  the 
mixture  a  scymitar,  some  arrows,  a  battle-axe, 
and  a  javelin,  all  the  while  repeating  prayers; 
lastly  the  two  contracting  parties  drink  each  a 
draught  from  the  bowl,  as  do  also  the  chief 
men  among  their  followers. 

71.  The  tombs  of  their  kings  are  in  the  land 
of  the  Gerrhi,  who  dwell  at  the  point  where  the 
Borysthenes  is  first  navigable.  Here,  when  the 
king  dies,  they  dig  a  grave,  which  is  square  in 
shape,  and  of  great  size.  When  it  is  ready,  they 
take  the  king's  corpse,  and,  having  opened  the 
belly,  and  cleaned  out  the  inside,  fill  the  cavity 
with  a  preparation  of  chopped  cypress,  frank- 
incense,   parsley-seed,    and    anise-seed,    after 
which  they  sew  up  the  opening,  enclose  the 
body  in  wax,  and,  placing  it  on  a  waggon, 
carry  it  about  through  all  the  different  tribes. 
On  this  procession  each  tribe,  when  it  receives 
the  corpse,  imitates  the  example  which  is  first 
set  by  the  Royal  Scythians;  every  man  chops 
off  a  piece  of  his  ear,  crops  his  hair  close,  and 
makes  a  cut  all  round  his  arm,  lacerates  his 
forehead  and  his  nose,  and  thrusts  an  arrow 
through  his  left  hand.  Then  they  who  have 
the  care  of  the  corpse  carry  it  with  them  to  an- 
other of  the  tribes  which  are  under  the  Scyth- 
ian rule,  followed  by  those  whom  they  first 
visited.  On  completing  the  circuit  of  all  the 
tribes  under  their  sway,  they  find  themselves 
in  the  country  of  the  Gerrhi,  who  are  the  most 
remote  of  all,  and  so  they  come  to  the  tombs  of 
the  kings.  There  the  body  of  the  dead  king  is 
laid  in  the  grave  prepared  for  it,  stretched  upon 
a  mattress;  spears  are  fixed  in  the  ground  on 
either  side  of  the  corpse,  and  beams  stretched 
across  above  it  to  form  a  roof,  which  is  covered 
with  a  thatching  of  osier  twigs.  In  the  open 
space  around  the  body  of  the  king  they  bury 
one  of  his  concubines,  first  killing  her  by 
strangling,  and  also  his  cup-bearer,  his  cook, 
his  groom,  his  lacquey,  his  messenger,  some  of 
his  horses,  firstlings  of  all  his  other  possessions, 
and  some  golden  cups;  for  they  use  neither 
silver  nor  brass.  After  this  they  set  to  work,  and 
raise  a  vast  mound  above  the  grave,  all  of  them 
vying  with  each  other  and  seeking  to  make  it 
as  tall  as  possible. 

72.  When  a  year  is  gone  by,  further  cere- 


monies take  place.  Fifty  of  the  best  of  the  late 
king's  attendants  are  taken,  all  native  Scythians 
— for,  as  bought  slaves  are  unknown  in  the 
country,  the  Scythian  kings  choose  any  of  their 
subjects  that  they  like,  to  wait  on  them — fifty 
of  these  are  taken  and  strangled,  with  fifty  of 
the  most  beautiful  horses.  When  they  are  dead, 
their  bowels  are  taken  out,  and  the  cavity 
cleaned,  filled  full  of  chaff,  and  straightway 
sewn  up  again.  This  done,  a  number  of  posts 
are  driven  into  the  ground,  in  sets  of  two  pairs 
each,  and  on  every  pair  half  the  felly  of  a  wheel 
is  placed  archwise;  then  strong  stakes  are  run 
lengthways  through  the  bodies  of  the  horses 
from  tail  to  neck,  and  they  are  mounted  up 
upon  the  fellies,  so  that  the  felly  in  front  sup- 
ports the  shoulders  of  the  horse,  while  that  be- 
hind sustains  the  belly  and  quarters,  the  legs 
dangling  in  mid-air;  each  horse  is  furnished 
with  a  bit  and  bridle,  which  latter  is  stretched 
out  in  front  of  the  horse,  and  fastened  to  a  peg. 
The  fifty  strangled  youths  are  then  mounted 
severally  on  the  fifty  horses.  To  effect  this,  a 
second  stake  is  passed  through  their  bodies 
along  the  course  of  the  spine  to  the  neck;  the 
lower  end  of  which  projects  from  the  body, 
and  is  fixed  into  a  socket,  made  in  the  stake 
that  runs  lengthwise  down  the  horse.  The  fifty 
riders  are  thus  ranged  in  a  circle  round  the 
tomb,  and  so  left. 

73.  Such,  then,  is  the  mode  in  which  the 
kings  are  buried:  as  for  the  people,  when  any 
one  dies,  his  nearest  of  kin  lay  him  upon  a 
waggon  and  take  him  round  to  all  his  friends 
in  succession:  each  receives  them  in  turn  and 
entertains  them  with  a  banquet,  whereat  the 
dead  man  is  served  with  a  portion  of  all  that  is 
set  before  the  others;  this  is  done  for  forty 
days,  at  the  end  of  which  time  the  burial  takes 
place.  After  the  burial,  those  engaged  in  it  have 
to  purify  themselves,  which  they  do  in  the  fol- 
lowing way.  First  they  well  soap  and  wash 
their  heads;  then,  in  order  to  cleanse  their 
bodies,  they  act  as  follows:  they  make  a  booth 
by  fixing  in  the  ground  three  sticks  inclined 
towards  one  another,  and  stretching  around 
them  woollen  felts,  which  they  arrange  so  as  to 
fit  as  close  as  possible:  inside  the  booth  a  dish 
is  placed  upon  the  ground,  into  which  they 
put  a  number  of  red-hot  stones,  and  then  add 
some  hemp-seed. 

74.  Hemp  grows  in  Scythia:  it  is  very  like 
flax;  only  that  it  is  a  much  coarser  and  taller 
plant:  some  grows  wild  about  the  country, 
some  is  produced  by  cultivation:  the  Thracians 
make  garments  of  it  which  closely  resemble 


70-78] 


THE  HISTORY 


137 


linen;  so  much  so,  indeed,  that  if  a  person  has 
never  seen  hemp  he  is  sure  to  think  they  are 
linen,  and  if  he  has,  unless  he  is  very  experi- 
enced in  such  matters,  he  will  not  know  of 
which  material  they  are. 

75.  The  Scythians,  as  I  said,  take  some  of 
this  hemp-seed,  and,  creeping  under  the  felt 
coverings,  throw  it  upon  the  red-hot  stones; 
immediately  it  smokes,  and  gives  out  such  a 
vapour  as  no  Grecian  vapour-bath  can  exceed; 
the  Scyths,  delighted,  shout  for  joy,  and  this 
vapour  serves  them  instead  of  a  water-bath; 
for  they  never  by  any  chance  wash  their  bodies 
with  water.  Their  women  make  a  mixture  of 
cypress,  cedar,  and  frankincense  wood,  which 
they  pound  into  a  paste  upon  a  rough  piece  of 
stone,  adding  a  little  water  to  it.  With  this 
substance,  which  is  of  a  thick  consistency,  they 
plaster  their  faces  all  over,  and  indeed  their 
whole  bodies.  A  sweet  odour  is  thereby  im- 
parted to  them,  and  when  they  take  off  the 
plaster  on  the  day  following,  their  skin  is  clean 
and  glossy. 

76.  The  Scythians  have  an  extreme  hatred 
of  all  foreign  customs,  particularly  of  those  in 
use  among  the  Greeks,  as  the  instances  of  Ana- 
charsis,  and,  more  lately,  of  Scylas,  have  fully 
shown.  The  former,  after  he  had  travelled  over 
a  great  portion  of  the  world,  and  displayed 
wherever  he  went  many  proofs  of  wisdom,  as 
he  sailed  through  the  Hellespont  on  his  return 
to  Scythia  touched  at  Cyzicus.  There  he  found 
the  inhabitants  celebrating  with  much  pomp 
and  magnificence  a  festival  to  the  Mother  of 
the  Gods,1  and  was  himself  induced  to  make  a 
vow  to  the  goddess,  whereby  he  engaged,  if 
he  got  back  safe  and  sound  to  his  home,  that 
he  would  give  her  a  festival  and  a  night-proces- 
sion in  all  respects  like  those  which  he  had  seen 
in  Cyzicus.  When,  therefore,  he  arrived   in 
Scythia,  he  betook  himself  to  the  district  called 
the  Woodland,  which  lies  opposite  the  course 
of  Achilles,  and  is  covered  with  trees  of  all 
manner  of  different  kinds,  and  there  went 
through  all  the  sacred  rites  with  the  tabour  in 
his  hand,  and  the  images  tied  to  him.  While 
thus  employed,  he  was  noticed  by  one  of  the 
Scythians,  who  went  and  told  king  Saulius 
what  he  had  seen.  Then  king  Saulius  came  in 
person,  and  when  he  perceived  what  Anachar- 
sis  was  about,  he  shot  at  him  with  an  arrow 
and  killed  him.  To  this  day,  if  you  ask  the 
Scyths  about  Anacharsis,  they  pretend  igno- 
rance of  him,  because  of  his  Grecian  travels 
and  adoption  of  the  customs  of  foreigners.  I 

1  Cybele  or  Rhca. 


learnt,  however,  from  Timnes,  the  steward  of 
Ariapithes,  that  Anacharsis  was  paternal  uncle 
to  the  Scythian  king  Idanthyrsus,  being  the 
son  of  Gnurus,  who  was  the  son  of  Lycus  and 
the  grandson  of  Spargapithes.  If  Anacharsis 
were  really  of  this  house,  it  must  have  been  by 
his  own  brother  that  he  was  slain,  for  Idan- 
thyrsus was  a  son  of  the  Saulius  who  put  An- 
acharsis to  death. 

77.  I  have  heard,  however,  another  tale,  very 
different  from  this,  which  is  told  by  the  Pelo- 
ponnesians:  they  say,  that  Anacharsis  was  sent 
by  the  king  of  the  Scyths  to  make  acquaint- 
ance with  Greece — that  he  went,  and  on  his  re- 
turn home  reported  that  the  Greeks  were  all 
occupied  in  the  pursuit  of  every  kind  of  knowl- 
edge, except  the  Lacedaemonians;  who,  how- 
ever, alone  knew  how  to  converse  sensibly.  A 
silly  tale  this,  which  the  Greeks  have  invented 
for  their  amusement!  There  is  no  doubt  that 
Anacharsis  suffered  death  in  the  mode  already 
related,  on  account  of  his  attachment  to  for- 
eign customs,  and  the  intercourse  which  he 
held  with  the  Greeks. 

78.  Scylas,  likewise,  the  son  of  Ariapithes, 
many  years  later,  met  with  almost  the  very 
same  fate.  Ariapithes,  the  Scythian  king,  had 
several  sons,  among  them  this  Scylas,  who  was 
the  child,  not  of  a  native  Scy th,  but  of  a  woman 
of  Istria.  Bred  up  by  her,  Scylas  gained  an  ac- 
quaintance with  the  Greek  language  and  let- 
ters. Some   time  afterwards,  Ariapithes  was 
treacherously  slain  by  Spargapithes,  king  of  the 
Aga thyrsi;  whereupon  Scylas  succeeded  to  the 
throne,  and  married  one  of  his  father's  wives, 
a  woman  named  Opoea.  This  Opoea  was  a 
Scythian  by  birth,  and  had  brought  Ariapithes 
a  son  called  Oricus.  Now  when  Scylas  found 
himself  king  of  Scythia,  as  he  disliked  the 
Scythic  mode  of  life,  and  was  attached,  by  his 
bringing  up,  to  the  manners  of  the  Greeks,  he 
made  it  his  usual  practice,  whenever  he  came 
with  his  army  to  the  town  of  the  Borysthen- 
ites,  who,  according  to  their  own  account,  are 
colonists  of  the  Milesians — he  made  it  his 
practice,  I  say,  to  leave  the  army  before  the  city, 
and,  having  entered  within  the  walls  by  him- 
self, and  carefully  closed  the  gates,  to  exchange 
his  Scythian  dress  for  Grecian  garments,  and 
in  this  attire  to  walk  about  the  forum,  without 
guards  or   retinue.  The  Borysthenites   kept 
watch  at  the  gates,  that  no  Scythian  might  see 
the  king  thus  apparelled.  Scylas,  meanwhile, 
lived  exactly  as  the  Greeks,  and  even  offered 
sacrifices  to  the  gods  according  to  the  Grecian 
rites.  In  this  way  he  would  pass  a  month,  or 


138 


HERODOTUS 


[  BOOK  iv 


more,  with  the  Borysthenites,  after  which  he 
would  clothe  himself  again  in  his  Scythian 
dress,  and  so  take  his  departure.  This  he  did 
repeatedly,  and  even  built  himself  a  house  in 
Borysthenes,  and  married  a  wife  there  who 
was  a  native  of  the  place. 

79.  But  when  the  time  came  that  was  or- 
dained to  bring  him  woe,  the  occasion  of  his 
ruin  was  the  following.  He  wanted  to  be  in- 
itiated in  the  Bacchic  mysteries,  and  was  on  the 
point  of  obtaining  admission  to  the  rites,  when 
a  most  strange  prodigy  occurred  to  him.  The 
house  which  he  possessed,  as  I  mentioned  a 
short  time  back,  in  the  city  of  the  Borysthen- 
ites, a  building  of  great  extent  and  erected  at 
a  vast  cost,  round  which  there  stood  a  number 
of  sphinxes  and  griffins  carved  in  white  marble, 
was  struck  by  lightning  from  on  high,  and 
burnt  to  the  ground.  Scylas,  nevertheless,  went 
on  and  received  the  initiation.  Now  the  Scyth- 
ians are  wont  to  reproach  the  Greeks  with  their 
Bacchanal  rage,  and  to  say  that  it  is  not  rea- 
sonable to  imagine  there  is  a  god  who  impels 
men  to  madness.  No  sooner,  therefore,  was 
Scylas  initiated  in  the  Bacchic  mysteries  than 
one  of  the  Borysthenites  went  and  carried  the 
news  to  the  Scythians — "You  Scyths  laugh  at 
us,"  he  said,  "because  we  rave  when  the  god 
seizes  us.  But  now  our  god  has  seized  upon 
your  king,  who  raves  like  us,  and  is  maddened 
by  the  influence.  If  you  think  I  do  not  tell  you 
true,  come  with  me,  and  I  will  show  him  to 
you."  The  chiefs  of  the  Scythians  went  with 
the  man  accordingly,  and  the  Borysthenite, 
conducting  them  into  the  city,  placed  them  se- 
cretly on  one  of  the  towers.  Presently  Scylas 
passed  by  with  the  band  of  revellers,  raving 
like  the  rest,  and  was  seen  by  the  watchers.  Re- 
garding the  matter  as  a  very  great  misfortune 
they  instantly  departed,  and  came  and  told  the 
army  what  they  had  witnessed. 

80.  When,  therefore,  Scylas,  after  leaving 
Borysthenes,  was  about  returning  home,  the 
Scythians  broke  out  into  revolt.  They  put  at 
their  head  Octamasadas,  grandson  (on  the 
mother's  side)  of  Teres.  Then  Scylas,  when  he 
learned  the  danger  with  which  he  was  threat- 
ened, and  the  reason  of  the  disturbance,  made 
his  escape  to  Thrace.  Octamasadas,  discover- 
ing whither  he  had  fled,  marched  after  him, 
and  had  reached  the  Ister,  when  he  was  met 
by  the  forces  of  the  Thracians.  The  two  armies 
were  about  to  engage,  but  before  they  joined 
battle,  Sitalces  sent  a  message  to  Octamasadas 
to  this  effect — "Why  should  there  be  trial  of 
arms  betwixt  thee  and  me?  Thou  art  my  own 


sister's  son,  and  thou  hast  in  thy  keeping  my 
brother.  Surrender  him  into  my  hands,  and  I 
will  give  thy  Scylas  back  to  thee.  So  neither 
thou  nor  I  will  risk  our  armies."  Sitalces  sent 
this  message  to  Octamasadas,  by  a  herald,  and 
Octamasadas,  with  whom  a  brother  of  Sitalces 
had  formerly  taken  refuge,  accepted  the  terms. 
He  surrendered  his  own  uncle  to  Sitalces,  and 
obtained  in  exchange  his  brother  Scylas.  Sital- 
ces took  his  brother  with  him  and  withdrew; 
but  Octamasadas  beheaded  Scylas  upon  the 
spot.  Thus  rigidly  do  the  Scythians  maintain 
their  own  customs,  and  thus  severely  do  they 
punish  such  as  adopt  foreign  usages. 

81.  What  the  population  of  Scythia  is  I  was 
not  able  to  learn  with  certainty;  the  accounts 
which  I  received  varied  from  one  another.  I 
heard  from  some  that  they  were  very  numer- 
ous indeed;  others  made  their  numbers  but 
scanty  for  such  a  nation  as  the  Scyths.  Thus 
much,  however,  I  witnessed   with   my  own 
eyes.  There  is  a  tract  called  Exampaeus  between 
the  Borysthenes  and  the  Hypanis.  I  made  some 
mention  of  it  in  a  former  place,  where  I  spoke 
of  the  bitter  stream  which  rising  there  flows 
into  the  Hypanis,  and  renders  the  water  of 
that  river  undrinkable.  Here  then  stands  a 
brazen  bowl,  six  times  as  big  as  that  at  the  en- 
trance of  the  Euxme,  which  Pausanias,  the  son 
of  Cleombrotus,  set  up.  Such  as  have  never 
seen  that  vessel  may  understand  me  better  if  I 
say  that  the  Scythian  bowl  holds  with  ease  six 
hundred  amphorae,1  and  is  of  the  thickness  of 
six  fingers'  breadth.  The  natives  gave  me  the 
following  account  of  the  manner  in  which  it 
was  made.  One  of  their  kings,  by  name  Arian- 
tas,  wishing  to  know  the  number  of  his  sub- 
jects, ordered  them  all  to  bring  him,  on  pain 
of  death,  the  point  off  one  ot  their  arrows. 
They  obeyed;  and  he  collected  thereby  a  vast 
heap  of  arrow-heads,  which  he  resolved  to 
form  into  a  memorial  that  might  go  down  to 
posterity.  Accordingly  he  made  of  them  this 
bowl,  and  dedicated  it  at  Exampaeus.  This  was 
all  that  I  could  learn  concerning  the  number  of 
the  Scythians. 

82.  The  country  has  no  marvels  except  its 
rivers,  which  are  larger  and  more  numerous 
than  those  of  any  other  land.  These,  and  the 
vastness  of  the  great  plain,  are  worthy  of  note, 
and  one  thing  besides,  which  I  am  about  to 
mention.  They  show  a  footmark  of  Hercules, 

xThe  Greek  amphora  (dju</>opeus)  contained 
nearly  nine  of  our  gallons;  whence  it  appears  that 
this  bowl  would  have  held  about  5400  gallons,  or 
above  85  hogsheads. 


79-88] 


THE  HISTORY 


139 


impressed  on  a  rock,  in  shape  like  the  print  of 
a  man's  foot,  but  two  cubits  in  length.  It  is  in 
the  neighbourhood  of  the  Tyras.  Having  de- 
scribed this,  I  return  to  the  subject  on  which  I 
originally  proposed  to  discourse. 

83.  The  preparations  of  Darius  against  the 
Scythians  had  begun,  messengers  had  been  des- 
patched on  all  sides  with  the  king's  commands, 
some  being  required  to  furnish  troops,  others 
to  supply  ships,  others  again  to  bridge  the 
Thracian  Bosphorus,  when  Artabanus,  son  of 
Hystaspes  and  brother  of  Darius,  entreated  the 
king  to  desist  from  his  expedition,  urging  on 
him  the  great  difficulty  of  attacking  Scythia. 
Good,  however,  as  the  advice  of  Artabanus 
was,  it  failed  to  persuade  Darius.  He  therefore 
ceased  his  reasonings;  and  Darius,  when  his 
preparations  were  complete,  led  his  army  forth 
from  Susa. 

84.  It  was  then  that  a  certain  Persian,  by 
name  (Eobazus,  the  father  of  three  sons,  all  of 
whom  were  to  accompany  the  army,  came  and 
prayed  the  king  that  he  would  allow  one  of 
his  sons  to  remain  with  him.  Darius  made  an- 
swer, as  if  he  regarded  him  in  the  light  of  a 
friend  who  had  urged  a  moderate  request, 
"that  he  would  allow  them  all  to  remain."  CEo- 
bazus  was  overjoyed,  expecting  that  all  his  chil- 
dren would  be  excused  from  serving;  the  king, 
however,  bade  his  attendants  take  the  three 
sons  of  CEobazus  and  forthwith  put  them  to 
death.  Thus  they  were  all  left  behind,  but  not 
till  they  had  been  deprived  of  life. 

85.  When  Darius,  on  his  march  from  Susa, 
reached   the  territory   of  Chalcedon  on  the 
shores  of  the  Bosphorus,  where  the  bridge  had 
been  made,  he  took  ship  and  sailed  thence  to 
the  Cyanean  islands,  which,  according  to  the 
Greeks,  once  floated.  He  took  his  seat  also  in 
the  temple  and  surveyed  the  Pontus,  which  is 
indeed  well  worthy  of  consideration.  There  is 
not  in  the  world  any  other  sea  so  wonderful: 
it  extends  in  length  eleven  thousand  one  hun- 
dred furlongs,  and  its  breadth,  at  the  widest 
part,  is  three  thousand  three  hundred.  The 
mouth  is  but  four  furlongs  wide;  and  this 
strait,  called  the  Bosphorus,  and  across  which 
the  bridge  of  Darius  had  been  thrown,  is  a  hun- 
dred and  twenty  furlongs  in  length,  reaching 
from  the  Euxine  to  the  Propontis.  The  Pro- 
pontis  is  five  hundred  furlongs  across,  and 
fourteen  hundred  long.  Its  waters  flow  into  the 
Hellespont,  the  length  of  which  is  four  hun- 
dred furlongs,  and  the  width  no  more  than 
seven.  The  Hellespont  opens  into  the  wide  sea 
called  the  Egean. 


86.  The  mode  in  which  these  distances  have 
been  measured  is  the  following.  In  a  long 
day  a  vessel  generally  accomplishes  about  sev- 
enty thousand  fathoms,  in  the  night  sixty  thou- 
sand. Now  from  the  mouth  of  the  Pontus  to 
the  river  Phasis,  which  is  the  extreme  length 
of  this  sea,  is  a  voyage  of  nine  days  and  eight 
nights,  which  makes  the  distance  one  million 
one  hundred  and  ten  thousand  fathoms,  or 
eleven  thousand  one  hundred  furlongs.  Again, 
from  Sindica,  to  Themiscyra  on  the  river  Ther- 
modon,  where  the  Pontus  is  wider  than  at  any 
other  place,  is  a  sail  of  three  days  and  two 
nights;  which  makes  three  hundred  and  thirty 
thousand  fathoms,  or  three  thousand  three 
hundred  furlongs.  Such  is  the  plan  on  which  I 
have  measured  the  Pontus,  the  Bosphorus,  and 
the  Hellespont,  and  such  is  the  account  which 
I  have  to  give  of  them.  The  Pontus  has  also  a 
lake  belonging  to  it,  not  very  much  inferior  to 
itself  in  size.  The  waters  of  this  lake  run  into 
the  Pontus:  it  is  called  the  Macotis,  and  also  the 
Mother  of  the  Pontus. 

87.  Darius,  after  he  had  finished  his  survey, 
sailed  back  to  the  bridge,  which  had  been  con- 
structed for  him  by  Mandrocles  a  Samian.  He 
likewise  surveyed  the  Bosphorus,  and  erected 
upon  its  shores  two  pillars  of  white  marble, 
whereupon  he  inscribed  the  names  of  all  the 
nations  which  formed  his  army — on  the  one 
pillar  in  Greek,  on  the  other  in  Assyrian  char- 
acters. Now  his  army  was  drawn  from  all  the 
nations  under  his  sway;  and  the  whole  amount, 
without  reckoning  the  naval  forces,  was  seven 
hundred   thousand  men,   including  cavalry. 
The  fleet  consisted  of  six  hundred  ships.  Some 
time  afterwards  the  Byzantines  removed  these 
pillars  to  their  own  city,  and  used  them  for  an 
altar  which  they  erected  to  Orthosian  Diana. 
One  block  remained  behind:  it  lay  near  the 
temple  of  Bacchus  at  Byzantium,  and  was  cov- 
ered with  Assyrian  writing.  The  spot  where 
Darius  bridged  the  Bosphorus  was,  I  think, 
but  I  speak  only  from  conjecture,  half-way  be- 
tween the  city  of  Byzantium  and  the  temple  at 
the  mouth  of  the  strait. 

88.  Darius  was  so  pleased  with  the  bridge 
thrown  across  the  strait  by  the  Samain  Man- 
drocles, that  he  not  only  bestowed  upon  him 
all  the  customary  presents,  but  gave  him  ten  of 
every  kind.  Mandrocles,  by  the  way  of  offer- 
ing first-fruits  from  these  presents,  caused  a  pic- 
ture to  be  painted  which  showed  the  whole  of 
the  bridge,  with  King  Darius  sitting  in  a  seat- 
of  honour,  and  his  army  engaged  in  the  pas- 
sage. This  painting  he  dedicated  in  the  temple, 


140 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK  iv 


of  Juno  at  Samos,  attaching  to  it  the  inscription 

following:  — 

The  fish-fraught  Bosphorus  bridged,  to  funo's  fane 

Did  Mandrocles  this  proud  memorial  bring; 
When  for  himself  a  crown  he'd  styll  to  gain, 

For  Samos  praise,  contenting  the  Great  King. 
Such  was  the  memorial  of  his  work  which  was 
left  by  the  architect  of  the  bridge. 

89.  Darius,   after   rewarding   Mandrocles, 
passed  into  Europe,  while  he  ordered  the  loni- 
ans  to  enter  the  Pontus,  and  sail  to  the  mouth 
of  the  Ister.  There  he  bade  them  throw  a 
bridge  across  the  stream  and  await  his  coming. 
The    lonians,    ^Eolians,   and  Hellespontians 
were  the  nations  which  furnished  the  chief 
strength  of  his  navy.  So  the  fleet,  threading  the 
Cyanean  Isles,  proceeded  straight  to  the  Ister, 
and,  mounting  the  river  to  the  point  where  its 
channels  separate,  a  distance  of  two  days'  voy- 
age from  the  sea,  yoked  the  neck  of  the  stream. 
Meantime  Darius,  who  had  crossed  the  Bos- 
phorus by  the  bridge  over  it,  marched  through 
Thrace;  and  happening  upon  the  sources  of  the 
Tearus,  pitched  his  camp  and  made  a  stay  of 
three  days. 

90.  Now  the  Tearus  is  said  by  those  who 
dwell  near  it,  to  be  the  most  healthful  of  all 
streams,  and  to  cure,  among  other  diseases,  the 
scab  either  in  man  or  beast.  Its  sources,  which 
are  eight  and  thirty  in  number,  all  flowing 
from  the  same  rock,  are  in  part  cold,  in  part 
hot.  They  lie  at  an  equal  distance  from  the 
town  of  Heraeum  near  Perinthus,  and  Apol- 
lonia  on  the  Euxine,  a  two  days'  journey  from 
each.  This  river,  the  Tearus,  is  a  tributary  of 
the  Contadesdus,  which  runs  into  the  Agri- 
anes,  and  that  into  the  Hebrus.  The  Hebrus 
empties  itself  into  the  sea  near  the  city  of 

^ 


91.  Here  then,  on  the  banks  of  the  Tearus, 
Darius  stopped  and  pitched  his  camp.  The  riv- 
er charmed  him  so,  that  he  caused  a  pillar  to 
be  erected  in  this  place  also,  with  an  inscrip- 
tion to  the  following  effect:  "The  fountains  of 
the  Tearus  afford  the  best  and  most  beautiful 
water  of  all  rivers:  they  were  visited,  on  his 
march  into  Scythia,  by  the  best  and  most  beau- 
tiful of  men,  Darius,  son  of  Hystaspes,  king  of 
the  Persians,  and  of  the  whole  continent." 
Such  was  the  inscription  which  he  set  up  at 
this  place. 

92.  Marching  thence,  he  came  to  a  second 
river,  called  the  Artiscus,  which  flows  through 
the  country  of  the  Odrysians.  Here  he  fixed 
upon  a  certain  spot,  where  every  one  of  his 
soldiers  should  throw  a  stone  as  he  passed  by. 


When  his  orders  were  obeyed,  Darius  contin- 
ued his  march,  leaving  behind  him  great  hills 
formed  of  the  stones  cast  by  his  troops. 

93.  Before  arriving  at  the  Ister,  the  first  peo- 
ple whom  he  subdued  were  the  Getac,  who  be- 
lieve in  their  immortality.  The  Thracians  of 
Salmydessus,  and  those  who  dwelt  above  the 
cities  of  Apollonia  and  Mesembria — the  Scyr- 
miadae  and  Nipsaeans,  as  they  are  called — gave 
themselves  up  to  Darius  without  a  struggle; 
but  the  Getac  obstinately  defending  themselves, 
were  forthwith  enslaved,  notwithstanding  that 
they  are  the  noblest  as  well  as  the  most  just  of 
all  the  Thracian. tribes. 

94.  The  belief  of  the  Getae  in  respect  of  im- 
mortality is  the  following.  They  think  that 
they  do  not  really  die,  but  that  when  they  de- 
part this  life  they  go  to  Zalmoxis,  who  is  called 
also  Gebeleizis  by  some  among  them.  To  this 
god  every  five  years  they  send  a  messenger, 
who  is  chosen  by  lot  out  of  the  whole  nation, 
and  charged  to  bear  him  their  several  requests. 
Their  mode  of  sending  him  is  this.  A  number 
of  them  stand  in  order,  each  holding  in  his 
hand  three  darts;  others  take  the  man  who  is 
to  be  sent  to  Zalmoxis,  and  swinging  him  by 
his  hands  and  feet,  toss  him  into  the  air  so  that 
he  falls  upon  the  points  of  the  weapons.  If  he  is 
pierced  and  dies,  they  think  that  the  god  is  pro- 
pitious to  them;  but  if  not,  they  lay  the  fault  on 
the  messenger,  who  (they  say)  is  a  wicked 
man:  and  so  they  choose  another  to  send  away. 
The  messages  are  given  while  the  man  is  still 
alive.  This  same  people,  when  it  lightens  and 
thunders,  aim  their  arrows  at  the  sky,  uttering 
threats  against  the  god;  and  they  do  not  believe 
that  there  is  any  god  but  their  own. 

95.  I  am  told  by  the  Greeks  who  dwell  on 
the  shores  of  the  Hellespont  and  the  Pontus, 
that  this  Zalmoxis  was  in  reality  a  man,  that  he 
lived  at  Samos,  and  while  there  was  the  slave 
of  Pythagoras  son  of  Mnesarchus.  After  ob- 
taining his  freedom  he  grew  rich,  and  leaving 
Samos,  returned  to  his  own  country.  The 
Thracians  at  that  time  lived  in  a  wretched  way, 
and  were  a   poor  ignorant  race;  Zalmoxis, 
therefore,   who  by  his  commerce  with   the 
Greeks,  and  especially  with  one  who  was  by 
no  means  their  most  contemptible  philosopher, 
Pythagoras  to  wit,  was  acquainted  with  the 
Ionic  mode  of  life  and  with  manners  more  re- 
fined than  those  current  among  his  country- 
men, had  a  chamber  built,  in  which  from  time 
to  time  he  received  and  feasted  all  the  princi- 
pal Thracians,  using  the  occasion  to  teach  them 
that  neither  he,  nor  they,  his  boon  companions, 


THE  HISTORY 


141 


nor  any  of  their  posterity  would  ever  perish, 
but  that  they  would  all  go  to  a  place  where 
they  would  live  for  aye  in  the  enjoyment  of 
every  conceivable  good.  While  he  was  acting  in 
this  way,  and  holding  this  kind  of  discourse, 
he  was  constructing  an  apartment  under- 
ground, into  which,  when  it  was  completed,  he 
withdrew,  vanishing  suddenly  from  the  eyes  of 
the  Thracians,  who  greatly  regretted  his  loss, 
and  mourned  over  him  as  one  dead.  He  mean- 
while abode  in  his  secret  chamber  three  full 
years,  after  which  he  came  forth  from  his  con- 
cealment, and  showed  himself  once  more  to  his 
countrymen,  who  were  thus  brought  to  believe 
in  the  truth  of  what  he  had  taught  them.  Such 
is  the  account  of  the  Greeks. 

96.  I  for  my  part  neither  put  entire  faith  in 
this  story  of  Zalmoxis  and  his  underground 
chamber,  nor  do  I  altogether  discredit  it:  but  I 
believe  Zalmoxis  to  have  lived  long  before  the 
time  of  Pythagoras.  Whether  there  was  ever 
really  a  man  of  the  name,  or  whether  Zalmoxis 
is  nothing  but  a  native  god  of  the  Getae,  I  now 
bid  him  farewell.  As  for  the  Gctae  themselves, 
the  people  who  observe  the  practices  described 
above,  they  were  now  reduced  by  the  Persians, 
and  accompanied  the  army  of  Darius. 

97.  When    Darius,   with    his    land    forces, 
reached  the  Ister,  he  made  his  troops  cross  the 
stream,  and  after  all  were  gone  over  gave  or- 
ders to  the  lonians  to  break  the  bridge,  and  fol- 
low him  with  the  whole  naval  force  in  his 
land  march.  They  were  about  to  obey  his  com- 
mand, when  the  general  of  the  Mytilenaeans, 
Goes  son   of   Erxander,   having  first    asked 
whether  it  was  agreeable  to  the  king  to  listen 
to  one  who  wished  to  speak  his  mind,  ad- 
dressed him  in  the  words  following: — "Thou 
art  about,  Sire,  to  attack  a  country  no  part  of 
which  is  cultivated,  and  wherein  there  is  not  a 
single  inhabited  city.  Keep  this  bridge,  then,  as 
it  is,  and  leave  those  who  built  it  to  watch  over 
it.  So  if  we  come  up  with  the  Scythians  and 
succeed  against  them  as  we  could  wish,  we 
may  return  by  this  route;  or  if  we  fail  of  find- 
ing them,  our  retreat  will  still  be  secure.  For  I 
have  no  fear  lest  the  Scythians  defeat  us  in 
battle,  but  my  dread  is  lest  we  be  unable  to  dis- 
cover them,  and  suffer  loss  while  we  wander 
about  their  territory.  And  now,  mayhap,  it 
will  be  said,  I  advise  thee  thus  in  the  hope  of 
being  myself  allowed  to  remain  behind;  but  in 
truth  I  have  no  other  design  than  to  recom- 
mend the  course  which  seems  to  me  the  best; 
nor  will  I  consent  to  be  among  those  left  be- 
hind, but  my  resolve  is,  in  any  case,  to  follow 


thcc."  The  advice  of  Goes  pleased  Darius  high- 
ly, who  thus  replied  to  him: — "Dear  Lesbian, 
when  I  am  safe  home  again  in  my  palace,  be 
sure  thou  come  to  me,  and  with  good  deeds 
will  I  recompense  thy  good  words  of  to-day." 

98.  Having  so  said,  the  king  took  a  leathern 
thong,  and  tying  sixty  knots  in  it,  called  to- 
gether the  Ionian  tyrants,  and  spoke  thus  to 
them : — "Men  of  Ionia,  my  former  commands 
to  you  concerning  the  bridge  are  now  with- 
drawn. See,  here  is  a  thong:  take  it,  and  ob- 
serve my  bidding  with  respect  to  it.  From  the 
time  that  I  leave  you  to  march  forward  into 
Scythia,  untie  every  day  one  of  the  knots.  If  I 
do  not  return  before  the  last  day  to  which  the 
knots  will  hold  out,  then  leave  your  station, 
and  sail  to  your  several  homes.  Meanwhile,  un- 
derstand that  my  resolve  is  changed,  and  that 
you  are  to  guard  the  bridge  with  all  care,  and 
watch  over  its  safety  and  preservation.  By  so 
doing  ye  will  oblige  me  greatly."  When  Darius 
had  thus  spoken,  he  set  out  on  his  march  with 
all  speed. 

99.  Before  you  come  to  Scythia,  on  the  sea 
coast,  lies  Thrace.  The  land  here  makes  a 
sweep,  and  then  Scythia  begins,  the  Ister  fall- 
ing into  the  sea  at  this  point  with  its  mouth 
facing  the  east.  Starting  from  the  Ister  I  shall 
now  describe  the  measurements  of  the  sea- 
shore of  Scythia.  Immediately  that  the  Ister  is 
crossed,  Old  Scythia  begins,  and  continues  as 
far  as  the  city  called  Carcinitis,  fronting  to- 
wards the  south  wind  and  the  mid-day.  Here 
upon  the  same  sea,  there  lies  a  mountainous 
tract  projecting  into  the  Pontus,  which  is  in- 
habited by  the  Tauri,  as  far  as  what  is  called 
the  Rugged  Chersonese,  which  runs  out  into 
the  sea  upon  the  east.  For  the  boundaries  of 
Scythia  extend  on  two  sides  to  two  different 
seas,  one  upon  the  south,  and  the  other  to- 
wards the  east,  as  is  also  the  case  with  Attica. 
And  the  Tauri  occupy  a  position  in  Scythia 
like  that  which  a  people  would  hold  in  Attica, 
who,  being   foreigners  and  not  Athenians, 
should  inhabit  the  high  land  of  Sunium,  from 
Thoricus  to  the  township  of  Anaphlystus,  if 
this  tract  projected  into  the  sea  somewhat  fur- 
ther than  it  does.  Such,  to  compare  great  things 
with  small,  is  the  Tauric  territory.  For  the  sake 
of  those  who  may  not  have  made  the  voyage 
round  these  parts  of  Attica,  I  will  illustrate  in 
another  way.  It  is  as  if  in  lapygia  a  line  were 
drawn  from  Port  Brundusium  to  Tarcntum, 
and  a  people  different  from  the  lapygians  in- 
habited the  promontory.  These  two  instances 
may  suggest  a  number  of  others  where  the 


142 


HERODOTUS 


shape  of  the  land  closely  resembles  that  of 
Taurica. 

100.  Beyond  this  tract,  we  find  the  Scyth- 
ians again  in  possession  of  the  country  above 
the  Tauri  and  the  parts  bordering  on  the  east- 
ern sea,  as  also  of  the  whole  district  lying  west 
of  the  Cimmerian  Bosphorus  and  the  Palus 
Maeotis,  as  far  as  the  river  Tanais,  which  emp- 
ties itself  into  that  lake  at  its  upper  end.  As  for 
the  inland  boundaries  of  Scythia,  if  we  start 
from  the  Ister,  we  find  it  enclosed  by  the  fol- 
lowing tribes,  first  the  Agathyrsi,  next  the 
Neuri,  then  the  Androphagi,  and  last  of  all,  the 
Melanchlaeni. 

101.  Scythia  then,  which  is  square  in  shape, 
and  has  two  of  its  sides  reaching  down  to  the 
sea,  extends  inland  to  the  same  distance  that  it 
stretches  along  the  coast,  and  is  equal  every 
way.  For  it  is  a  ten  days'  journey  from  the  Ister 
to  the  Borysthenes,  and  ten  more  from  the 
Borysthenes  to  the  Palus  Maeotis,  while  the 
distance  from  the  coast  inland  to  the  country 
of  the  Melanchkeni,  who  dwell  above  Scythia, 
is  a  journey  of  twenty  days.  I  reckon  the  day's 
journey  at  two  hundred  furlongs.  Thus  the  two 
sides  which  run  straight  inland  are  four  thou- 
sand furlongs  each,  and  the  transverse  sides  at 
right  angles  to  these  are  also  of  the  same 
length,  which  gives  the  full  size  of  Scythia. 

102.  The  Scythians,  reflecting  on  their  situa- 
tion, perceived   that  they  were   not  strong 
enough  by  themselves  to  contend  with  the 
army  of  Darius  in  open  fight.  They,  therefore, 
sent  envoys  to  the  neighbouring  nations,  whose 
kings  had  already  met,  and  were  in  consulta- 
tion upon  the  advance  of  so  vast  a  host.  Now 
they  who  had  come  together  were  the  kings  of 
the  Tauri,  the  Agathyrsi,  the  Neuri,  the  An- 
drophagi, the  Melanchlaeni,  the  Geloni,  the 
Budini,  and  the  Sauromatae. 

103.  The  Tauri  have  the  following  customs. 
They  offer  in  sacrifice  to  the  Virgin  all  ship- 
wrecked persons,  and  all  Greeks  compelled  to 
put  into  their  ports  by  stress  of  weather.  The 
mode  of  sacrifice  is  this.  After  the  preparatory 
ceremonies,  they  strike  the  victim  on  the  head 
with  a  club.  Then,  according  to  some  accounts, 
they  hurl  the  trunk  from  the  precipice  where- 
on the  temple  stands,  and  nail  the  head  to  a 
cross.  Others  grant  that  the  head  is  treated  in 
this  way,  but  deny  that  the  body  is  thrown 
down  the  cliff — on  the  contrary,  they  say,  it  is 
buried.  The  goddess  to  whom  these  sacrifices 
are  offered  the  Tauri  themselves  declare  to  be 
Iphigenia  the  daughter  of  Agamemnon.  When 
they  take  prisoners  in  war  they  treat  them  in 


[BooK  iv 

the  following  way.  The  man  who  has  taken  a 
captive  cuts  off  his  head,  and  carrying  it  to  his 
home,  fixes  it  upon  a  tall  pole,  which  he  ele- 
vates above  his  house,  most  commonly  over  the 
chimney.  The  reason  that  the  heads  are  set  up 
so  high,  is  (it  is  said)  in  order  that  the  whole 
house  may  be  under  their  protection.  These 
people  live  entirely  by  war  and  plundering. 

104.  The  Agathyrsi  are  a  race  of  men  very 
luxurious,  and  very  fond  of  wearing  gold  on 
their  persons.  They  have  wives  in  common, 
that  so  they  may  be  all  brothers,  and,  as  mem- 
bers of  one  family,  may  neither  envy  nor  hate 
one  another.  In  other  respects  their  customs  ap- 
proach nearly  to  those  of  the  Thracians. 

105.  The  Neurian  customs   are   like   the 
Scythian.  One  generation  before  the  attack  of 
Darius  they  were  driven  from  their  land  by  a 
huge  multitude  of  serpents  which  invaded 
them.  Of  these  some  were  produced  in  their 
own  country,  while  others,  and  those  by  far  the 
greater  number,  came  in  from  the  deserts  on 
the  north.  Suffering  grievously  beneath  this 
scourge,  they  quitted  their  homes,  and  took 
refuge  with  the  Budini.  It  seems  that  these  peo- 
ple are  conjurers:  for  both  the  Scythians  and 
the  Greeks  who  dwell  in  Scythia  say  that  every 
Neurian  once  a  year  becomes  a  wolf  for  a  few 
days,  at  the  end  of  which  time  he  is  restored  to 
his  proper  shape.  Not  that  I  believe  this,  but 
they  constantly  affirm  it  to  be  true,  and  are 
even  ready  to  back  their  assertion  with  an  oath. 

1 06.  The  manners  of  the  Androphagi1  are 
more  savage  than  those  of  any  other  race.  They 
neither  observe  justice,  nor  are  governed  by 
any  laws.  They  are  nomads,  and  their  dress  is 
Scythian;  but  the  language  which  they  speak 
is  peculiar  to  themselves.  Unlike  any  other  na- 
tion in  these  parts,  they  are  cannibals. 

107.  The  Melanchlaeni2  wear,  all  of  them, 
black  cloaks,  and  from  this  derive  the  name 
which  they  bear.  Their  customs  are  Scythic. 

1 08.  The  Budini  are  a  large  and  powerful 
nation:  they  have  all  deep  blue  eyes,  and  bright 
red  hair.  There  is  a  city  in  their  territory,  called 
Gelonus,  which  is  surrounded  with  a  lofty 
wall,  thirty  furlongs  each  way,  built  entirely  of 
wood.  All  the  houses  in  the  place  and  all  the 
temples  are  of  the  same  material.  Here  are 
temples  built  in  honour  of  the  Grecian  gods, 
and  adorned  after  the  Greek  fashion  with  im- 
ages, altars,  and  shrines,  all  in  wood.  There  is 
even  a  festival,  held  every  third  year  in  hon- 
our of  Bacchus,  at  which  the  natives  fall  into 

1  Or  "Men-eaters." 

2  Or  "Black-cloaks." 


100-114] 


THE  HISTORY 


143 


the  Bacchic  fury.  For  the  fact  is  that  the  Gcl- 
oni  were  anciently  Greeks,  who,  being  driven 
out  of  the  factories  along  the  coast,  fled  to  the 
Budini  and  took  up  their  abode  with  them. 
They  still  speak  a  language  half  Greek,  half 
Scythian. 

109.  The  Budini,  however,  do  not  speak  the 
same  language  as  the  Geloni,  nor  is  their  mode 
of  life  the  same.  They  are  the  aboriginal  peo- 
ple of  the  country,  and  are  nomads;  unlike  any 
of  the  neighbouring  races,  they  eat  lice.  The 
Geloni,  on  the  contrary,  are  tillers  of  the  soil, 
eat  bread,  have  gardens,  and  both  in  shape  and 
complexion  are  quite  different  from  the  Bu- 
dini. The  Greeks  notwithstanding  call  these 
latter  Geloni;  but  it  is  a  mistake  to  give  them 
the  name.  Their  country  is  thickly  planted 
with  trees  of  all  manner  of  kinds.  In  the  very 
woodiest  part  is  a  broad  deep  lake,  surrounded 
by  marshy  ground  with  reeds  growing  on  it. 
Here  otters  are  caught,  and  beavers,  with  an- 
other sort  of  animal  which  has  a  square  face. 
With  the  skins  of  this  last  the  natives  border 
their  capotes:  and  they  also  get  from  them  a 
remedy,  which  is  of  virtue  in  diseases  of  the 
womb. 

no.  It  is  reported  of  the  Sauromatx,  that 
when  the  Greeks  fought  with  the  Amazons, 
whom  the  Scythians  call  Oior-pata  or  "man- 
slayers,"  as  it  may  be  rendered,  Oior  being 
Scythic  for  "man,"  and  pata  for  "to  slay" — it  is 
reported,  I  say,  that  the  Greeks  after  gaining 
the  battle  of  the  Thermodon,  put  to  sea,  taking 
with  them  on  board  three  of  their  vessels  all  the 
Amazons  whom  they  had  made  prisoners;  and 
that  these  women  upon  the  voyage  rose  up 
against  the  crews,  and  massacred  them  to  a 
man.  As  however  they  were  quite  strange  to 
ships,  and  did  not  know  how  to  use  either  rud- 
der, sails,  or  oars,  they  were  carried,  after  the 
death  of  the  men,  where  the  winds  and  the 
waves  listed.  At  last  they  reached  the  shores  of 
the  Palus  Maeotis  and  came  to  a  place  called 
Cremni  or  "the  Cliffs,"  which  is  in  the  country 
of  the  free  Scythians.  Here  they  went  ashore, 
and  proceeded  by  land  towards  the  inhabited 
regions;  the  first  herd  of  horses  which  they  fell 
in  with  they  seized,  and  mounting  upon  their 
backs,  fell  to  plundering  the  Scythian  terri- 
tory. 

in.  The  Scyths  could  not  tell  what  to  make 
of  the  attack  upon  them — the  dress,  the  lan- 
guage, the  nation  itself,  were  alike  unknown 
— whence  the  enemy  had  come  even,  was  a 
marvel.  Imagining,  however,  that  they  were  all 
men  of  about  the  same  age,  they  went  out 


against  them,  and  fought  a  battle.  Some  of  the 
bodies  of  the  slain  fell  into  their  hands,  where- 
by they  discovered  the  truth.  Hereupon  they 
deliberated,  and  made  a  resolve  to  kill  no  more 
of  them,  but  to  send  against  them  a  detach- 
ment of  their  youngest  men,  as  near  as  they 
could  guess  equal  to  the  women  in  number, 
with  orders  to  encamp  in  their  neighbourhood, 
and  do  as  they  saw  them  do — when  the  Ama- 
zons advanced  against  them,  they  were  to  re- 
tire, and  avoid  a  fight — when  they  halted,  the 
young  men  were  to  approach  and  pitch  their 
camp  near  the  camp  of  the  enemy.  All  this  they 
did  on  account  of  their  strong  desire  to  obtain 
children  from  so  notable  a  race. 

1 12.  So  the  youths  departed,  and  obeyed  the 
orders  which  had  been  given  them.  The  Ama- 
zons soon  found  out  that  they  had  not  come  to 
do  them  any  harm;  and  so  they  on  their  part 
ceased  to  offer  the  Scythians  any  molestation. 
And  now  day  after  day  the  camps  approached 
nearer  to  one  another;  both  parties  led  the  same 
life,  neither  having  anything  but  their  arms 
and  horses,  so  that  they  were  forced  to  support 
themselves  by  hunting  and  pillage. 

113.  At  last  an  incident  brought  two  of  them 
together — the  man   easily   gained   the  good 
graces  of  the  woman,  who  bade  him  by  signs 
(for  they  did  not  understand  each  other's  lan- 
guage) to  bring  a  friend  the  next  day  to  the 
spot  where  they  had  met — promising  on  her 
part  to  bring  with  her  another  woman.  He  did 
so,  and  the  woman  kept  her  word.  When  the 
rest  of  the  youths  heard  what  had  taken  place, 
they  also  sought  and  gained  the  favour  of  the 
other  Amazons. 

114.  The  two  camps  were  then  joined  in 
one,  the  Scythians  living  with  the  Amazons  as 
their  wives;  and  the  men  were  unable  to  learn 
the  tongue  of  the  women,  but  the  women  soon 
caught  up  the  tongue  of  the  men.  When  they 
could  thus  understand  one  another,  the  Scyths 
addressed  the  Amazons  in  these  words — "We 
have  parents,  and  properties,  let  us  therefore 
give  up  this  mode  of  life,  and  return  to  our  na- 
tion, and  live  with  them.  You  shall  be  our 
wives  there  no  less  than  here,  and  we  promise 
you  to  have  no  others."  But  the  Amazons  said 
—•"We  could  not  live  with  your  women — our 
customs  are  quite  different  from  theirs.  To 
draw  the  bow,  to  hurl  the  javelin,  to  bestride 
the  horse,  these  are  our  arts — of  womanly  em- 
ployments we  know  nothing.  Your  women,  on 
the  contrary,  do  none  of  these  things;  but  stay 
at  home  in  their  waggons,  engaged  in  woman- 
ish tasks,  and  never  go  out  to  hunt,  or  to  do 


144 


HERODOTUS 


[  BOOK  iv 


anything.  We  should  never  agree  together.  But 
if  you  truly  wish  to  keep  us  as  your  wives,  and 
would  conduct  yourselves  with  strict  justice 
towards  us,  go  you  home  to  your  parents,  bid 
them  give  you  your  inheritance,  and  then  come 
back  to  us,  and  let  us  and  you  live  together  by 
ourselves." 

115.  The  youths  approved  of  the  advice,  and 
followed  it.  They  went  and  got  the  portion  of 
goods  which  fell  to  them,  returned  with  it,  and 
rejoined  their  wives,  who  then  addressed  them 
in  these  words  following: — "We  are  ashamed, 
and  afraid  to  live  in  the  country  where  we  now 
are.  Not  only  have  we  stolen  you  from  your 
fathers,  but  we  have  done  great  damage  to 
Scythia  by  our  ravages.  As  you  like  us  for 
wives,  grant  the  request  we  make  of  you.  Let 
us  leave  this  country  together,  and  go  and 
dwell  beyond  the  Tanais."  Again  the  youths 
complied. 

116.  Crossing  the  Tanais  they  journeyed 
eastward  a  distance  of  three  days'  march  from 
that  stream,  and  again  northward  a  distance  of 
three  days'  march  from  the  Palus  Maeotis.  Here 
they  came  to  the  country  where  they  now  live, 
and  took  up  their  abode  in  it.  The  women  of 
the  Sauromatac  have  continued  from  that  day 
to  the  present  to  observe  their  ancient  customs, 
frequently  hunting  on  horseback  with  their 
husbands,  sometimes  even  unaccompanied;  in 
war  taking  the  field;  and  wearing  the  very 
same  dress  as  the  men. 

117.  The  Sauromatae  speak  the  language  of 
Scythia,  but  have  never  talked  it  correctly,  be- 
cause the  Amazons  learnt  it  imperfectly  at  the 
first.  Their  marriage-law  lays  it  down  that  no 
girl  shall  wed  till  she  has  killed  a  man  in  bat- 
tle. Sometimes  it  happens  that  a  woman  dies 
unmarried  at  an  advanced  age,  having  never 
been  able  in  her  whole  lifetime  to  fulfil  the 
condition. 

1 1 8.  The  envoys  of  the  Scythians,  on  being 
introduced  into  the  presence  of  the  kings  of 
these  nations,  who  were  assembled  to  deliber- 
ate, made  it  known  to  them  that  the  Persian, 
after  subduing  the  whole  of  the  other  conti- 
nent, had  thrown  a  bridge  over  the  strait  of  the 
Bosphorus,  and  crossed  into  the  continent  of 
Europe,  where  he  had  reduced  the  Thracians, 
and  was  now  making  a  bridge  over  the  Ister, 
his  aim  being  to  bring  under  his  sway  all  Eu- 
rope also.  "Stand  ye  not  aloof  then  from  this 
contest,"  they  went  on  to  say,  "look  not  on 
tamely  while  we  arc  perishing — but  make 
common  cause  with  us,  and  together  let  us 
meet  the  enemy.  If  ye  refuse,  we  must  yield  to 


the  pressure,  and  either  quit  our  country,  or 
make  terms  with  the  invaders.  For  what  else  is 
left  for  us  to  do,  if  your  aid  be  withheld  from 
us?  The  blow,  be  sure,  will  not  light  on  you 
more  gently  upon  this  account.  The  Persian 
comes  against  you  no  less  than  against  us:  and 
will  not  be  content,  after  we  are  conquered,  to 
leave  you  in  peace.  We  can  bring  strong  proof 
of  what  we  here  advance.  Had  the  Persian 
leader  indeed  come  to  avenge  the  wrongs 
which  he  suffered  at  our  hands  when  we  en- 
slaved his  people,  and  to  war  on  us  only,  he 
would  have  been  bound  to  march  straight 
upon  Scythia,  without  molesting  any  nation  by 
the  way.  Then  it  would  have  been  plain  to  all 
that  Scythia  alone  was  aimed  at.  But  now, 
what  has  his  conduct  been  ?  From  the  moment 
of  his  entrance  into  Europe,  he  has  subjugated 
without  exception  every  nation  that  lay  in  his 
path.  All  the  tribes  of  the  Thracians  have  been 
brought  under  his  sway,  and  among  them  even 
our  next  neighbours,  the  Gttx" 

119.  The  assembled  princes  of  the  nations, 
after  hearing  all  that  the  Scythians  had  to  say, 
deliberated.  At  the  end  opinion  was  divided 
— the  kings  of  the  Geloni,  Budmi,  and  Sauro- 
mata»  were  of  accord,  and  pledged  themselves 
to  give  assistance  to  the  Scythians;  but  the  Aga- 
thyrsian  and  Neurian  princes,  together  with 
the  sovereigns  of  the  Androphagi,  the  Melan- 
chlaeni,  and  the  Tauri,  replied  to  their  request 
as  follows: — "If  you  had  not  been  the  first  to 
wrong  the  Persians,  and  begin  the  war,  we 
should  have  thought  the  request  you  make 
just;  we  should  then  have  complied  with  your 
wishes,  and  joined  our  arms  with  yours.  Now, 
however,  the  case  stands  thus — you,  indepen- 
dently of  us,  invaded  the  land  of  the  Persians, 
and  so  long  as  God  gave  you  the  power,  lorded 
it  over  them:  raised  up  now  by  the  same  God, 
they  are  come  to  do  to  you  the  like.  We,  on 
our  part,  did  no  wrong  to  these  men  in  the  for- 
mer war,  and  will  not  be  the  first  to  commit 
wrong  now.  If  they  invade  our  land,  and  be- 
gin aggressions  upon  us,  we  will  not  suffer 
them;  but,  till  we  see  this  come  to  pass,  we  will 
remain  at  home.  For  we  believe  that  the  Per- 
sians are  not  come  to  attack  us,  but  to  punish 
those  who  are  guilty  of  first  injuring  them." 

120.  When  this  reply  reached  the  Scythians, 
they  resolved,  as  the  neighbouring  nations  re- 
fused their  alliance,  that  they  would  not  openly 
venture  on  any  pitched  battle  with  the  enemy, 
but  would  retire  before  them,  driving  off  their 
herds,  choking  up  all  the  wells  and  springs  as 
they  retreated,  and  leaving  the  whole  country 


115-125] 


THE  HISTORY 


145 


bare  of  forage.  They  divided  themselves  into 
three  bands,  one  of  which,  namely,  that  com- 
manded by  Scopasis,  it  was  agreed  should  be 
joined  by  the  Sauromatae,  and  if  the  Persians 
advanced  in  the  direction  of  the  Tanais,  should 
retreat  along  the  shores  of  the  Palus  Maeotis 
and  make  for  that  river;  while  if  the  Persians 
retired,  they  should  at  once  pursue  and  harass 
them.  The  two  other  divisions,  the  principal 
one  under  the  command  of  Idanthyrsus,  and 
the  third,  of  which  Taxacis  was  king,  were  to 
unite  in  one,  and,  joined  by  the  detachments  of 
the  Geloni  and  Budini,  were,  like  the  others,  to 
keep  at  the  distance  of  a  day's  march  from  the 
Persians,  falling  back  as  they  advanced,  and 
doing  the  same  as  the  others.  And  first,  they 
were  to  take  the  direction  of  the  nations  which 
had  refused  to  join  the  alliance,  and  were  to 
draw  the  war  upon  them:  that  so,  if  they  would 
not  of  their  own  free  will  engage  in  the  con- 
test, they  might  by  these  means  be  forced  into 
it.  Afterwards,  it  was  agreed  that  they  should 
retire  into  their  own  land,  and,  should  it  on  de- 
liberation appear  to  them  expedient,  join  battle 
with  the  enemy. 

121.  When  these  measures  had  been  deter- 
mined on,  the  Scythians  went  out  to  meet  the 
army  of  Darius,  sending  on  in  front  as  scouts 
the  fleetest  of  their  horsemen.  Their  waggons, 
wherein  their  women  and  their  children  lived, 
and  all  their  cattle,  except  such  a  number  as 
was  wanted  for  food,  which  they  kept  with 
them,  were  made  to  precede  them  in  their  re- 
treat, and  departed,  with  orders  to  keep  march- 
ing, without  change  of  course,  to  the  north. 

122.  The  scouts  of  the  Scythians  found  the 
Persian  host  advanced  three  days'  march  from 
the  Istcr,  and  immediately  took  the  lead  of 
them  at  the  distance  of  a  day's  march,  encamp- 
ing from  time  to  time,  and  destroying  all  that 
grew  on  the  ground.  The  Persians  no  sooner 
caught  sight  of  the  Scythian  horse  than  they 
pursued  upon  their  track,  while  the  enemy  re- 
tired before  them.  The  pursuit  of  the  Persians 
was  directed  towards  the  single  division  of  the 
Scythian  army,  and  thus  their  line  of  march 
was  eastward  toward  the  Tanais.  The  Scyths 
crossed  the  river,  and  the  Persians  after  them, 
still  in  pursuit.  In  this  way  they  passed  through 
the  country  of  the  Sauromatae,  and  entered 
that  of  the  Budini. 

123.  As  long  as  the  march  of  the  Persian 
army  lay  through  the  countries  of  the  Scythians 
and  Sauromata?,  there  was  nothing  which  they 
could  damage,  the  land  being  waste  and  bar- 
ren; but  on  entering  the  territories  of  the  Bu- 


dini, they  came  upon  the  wooden  fortress  above 
mentioned,  which  was  deserted  by  its  inhabi- 
tants and  left  quite  empty  of  everything.  This 
place  they  burnt  to  the  ground;  and  having  so 
done,  again  pressed  forward  on  the  track  of  the 
retreating  Scythians,  till,  having  passed 
through  the  entire  country  of  the  Budini,  they 
reached  the  desert,  which  has  no  inhabitants, 
and  extends  a  distance  of  seven  days'  journey 
above  the  Budmian  territory.  Beyond  this  des- 
ert dwell  the  Thyssagetse,  out  of  whose  land 
four  great  streams  flow.  These  rivers  all  tra- 
verse the  country  of  the  Maeotians,  and  fall  into 
the  Palus  Maeotis.  Their  names  are  the  Lycus, 
the  Oarus,  the  Tanais,  and  the  Syrgis. 

124.  When  Darius  reached  the  desert,  he 
paused  from  his  pursuit,  and  halted  his  army 
upon  the  Oarus.  Here  he  built  eight  large  forts, 
at  an  equal  distance  from  one  another,  sixty 
furlongs  apart  or  thereabouts,  the  ruins  of 
which  were  still  remaining  in  my  day.  During 
the  time  that  he  was  so  occupied,  the  Scythians 
whom  he  had  been  following  made  a  circuit 
by  the  higher  regions,  and  re-entered  Scythia. 
On  their  complete  disappearance,  Darius,  see- 
ing nothing  more  of  them,  left  his  forts  half 
finished,  and  returned  towards  the  west.  He 
imagined  that  the  Scythians  whom  he  had 
seen  were  the  entire  nation,  and  that  they  had 
fled  in  that  direction. 

125.  He  now  quickened  his  march,  and 
entering  Scythia,  fell  in  with  the  two  com- 
bined divisions  of  the  Scythian  army,  and  in- 
stantly gave  them  chase.  They  kept  to  their 
plan  of  retreating  before  him  at  the  distance  of 
a  day's  march;  and,  he  still  following  them 
hotly,  they  led  him,  as  had  been  previously 
settled,  into  the  territories  of  the  nations  that 
had  refused  to  become  their  allies,  and  first  of 
all  into  the  country  of  the  Melanchlaeni.  Great 
disturbance  was  caused  among  this  people  by 
the  invasion  of  the  Scyths  first,  and  then  of  the 
Persians.  So,  having  harassed  them  after  this 
sort,  the  Scythians  led  the  way  into  the  land  of 
the  Androphagi,  with  the  same  result  as  be- 
fore; and  thence  passed  onwards  into  Neuris, 
where  their  coming  likewise  spread  dismay 
among  the  inhabitants.  Still  retreating  they  ap- 
proached the  Aga thyrsi;  but  this  people,  which 
had  witnessed  the  flight  and  terror  of  their 
neighbours,  did  not  wait  for  the  Scyths  to  in- 
vade them,  but  sent  a  herald  to  forbid  them  to 
cross  their  borders,  and  to  forewarn  them, 
that,  if  they  made  the  attempt,  it  would  be  re- 
sisted by  force  of  arms.  The  Agathyrsi  then 
proceeded  to  the  frontier,  to  defend  their  coun- 


146 


HERODOTUS 


try  against  the  invaders.  As  for  the  other  na- 
tions, the  Melanchlaeni,  the  Androphagi,  and 
the  Neuri,  instead  of  defending  themselves, 
when  the  Scyths  and  Persians  overran  their 
lands,  they  forgot  their  threats  and  fled  away 
in  confusion  to  the  deserts  lying  towards  the 
north.  The  Scythians,  when  the  Agathyrsi  for- 
bade them  to  enter  their  country,  refrained; 
and  led  the  Persians  back  from  the  Neurian 
district  into  their  own  land. 

126.  This  had  gone  on  so  long,  and  seemed 
so  interminable,  that  Darius  at  last  sent  a  horse- 
man to  Idanthyrsus,  the  Scythian  king,  with 
the  following  message: — "Thou  strange  man, 
why  dost  thou  keep  on  flying  before  me,  when 
there  are  two  things  thou  mightest  do  so  eas- 
ily? If  thou  deemest  thyself  able  to  resist  my 
arms,  cease  thy  wanderings  and  come,  let  us 
engage  in  battle.  Or  if  thou  art  conscious  that 
my  strength  is  greater  than  thine — even  so 
thou  shouldest  cease  to  run  away — thou  hast 
but  to  bring  thy  lord  earth  and  water,  and  to 
come  at  once  to  a  conference." 

127.  To  this  message  Idanthyrsus,  the  Scyth- 
ian king,  replied: — "This  is  my  way,  Persian. 
I  never  fear  men  or  fly  from  them.  I  have  not 
done  so  in  times  past,  nor  do  I  now  fly  from 
thce,  There  is  nothing  new  or  strange  in  what 
I  do;  I  only  follow  my  common  mode  of  life  in 
peaceful  years.  Now  I  will  tell  thee  why  I  do 
not  at  once  join  battle  with  thee.  We  Scythians 
have  neither  towns  nor  cultivated  lands,  which 
might  induce  us,  through  fear  of  their  being 
taken  or  ravaged,  to  be  in  any  hurry  to  fight 
with  you.  If,  however,  you  must  needs  come  to 
blows  with  us  speedily,  look  you  now,  there 
are  our  fathers'  tombs — seek  them  out,  and 
attempt  to  meddle  with  them — then  ye  shall 
see  whether  or  no  we  will  fight  with  you.  Till 
ye  do  this,  be  sure  we  shall  not  join  battle,  un- 
less it  pleases  us.  This  is  my  answer  to  the  chal- 
lenge to  fight.  As  for  lords,  I  acknowledge  only 
Jove  my  ancestor,  and  Vesta,  the  Scythian 
queen.   Earth   and  water,   the   tribute  thou 
iskedst,  I  do  not  send,  but  thou  shalt  soon  re- 
vive more  suitable  gifts.  Last  of  all,  in  return 
For  thy  calling  thyself  my  lord,  I  say  to  thee, 
Go  weep.' "  (This  is  what  men  mean  by  the 
Scythian  mode  of  speech.)  So  the  herald  de- 
parted, bearing  this  message  to  Darius. 

128.  When  the  Scythian  kings  heard  the 
lame  of  slavery  they  were  filled  with  rage,  and 
despatched   the   division  under  Scopasis  to 
vhich  the  Sauromatae  were  joined,  with  orders 
hat  they  should  seek  a  conference  with  the 
onians,  who  had  been  left  at  the  Ister  to  guard 


[BooK  iv 

the  bridge.  Meanwhile  the  Scythians  who  re- 
mained behind  resolved  no  longer  to  lead  the 
Persians  hither  and  thither  about  their  coun- 
try, but  to  fall  upon  them  whenever  they 
should  be  at  their  meals.  So  they  waited  till 
such  times,  and  then  did  as  they  had  deter- 
mined. In  these  combats  the  Scythian  horse 
always  put  to  flight  the  horse  of  the  enemy; 
these  last,  however,  when  routed,  fell  back 
upon  their  foot,  who  never 'failed  to  afford 
them  support;  while  the  Scythians,  on  their 
side,  as  soon  as  they  had  driven  the  horse  in, 
retired  again,  for  fear  of  the  foot.  By  night  too 
the  Scythians  made  many  similar  attacks. 

129.  There    was   one   very   strange    thing 
which  greatly  advantaged  the  Persians,  and 
was  of  equal  disservice  to  the  Scyths,  in  these 
assaults  on  the  Persian  camp.  This  was  the 
braying  of  the  asses  and  the  appearance  of  the 
mules.  For,  as  I  observed  before,  the  land  of  the 
Scythians  produces  neither  ass  nor  mule,  and 
contains  no  single  specimen  of  either  animal, 
by  reason  of  the  cold.  So,  when  the  asses 
brayed,  they  frightened  the  Scythian  cavalry; 
and  often,  in   the  middle  of  a  charge,  the 
horses,  hearing  the  noise  made  by  the  asses, 
would  take  fright  and  wheel  round,  pricking 
up  their  ears,  and  showing  astonishment.  This 
was  owing  to  their  having  never  heard  the 
noise,  or  seen  the  form,  of  the  animal  before: 
and  it  was  not  without  some  little  influence  on 
the  progress  of  the  war. 

130.  The  Scythians,  when  they  perceived 
signs  that  the  Persians  were  becoming  alarmed, 
took  steps  to  induce  them  not  to  quit  Scythia, 
in  the  hope,  if  they  stayed,  of  inflicting  on 
them  the  greater  injury,  when  their  supplies 
should  altogether  fail.  To  effect  this,   they 
would  leave  some  of  their  cattle  exposed  with 
the  herdsmen,  while  they  themselves  moved 
away  to  a  distance:  the  Persians  would  make  a 
foray,  and  take  the  beasts,  whereupon  they 
would  be  highly  elated. 

131.  This  they  did  several  times,  until  at 
last  Darius  was  at  his  wits'  end;  hereon  the 
Scythian  princes,  understanding  how  matters 
stood,  despatched  a  herald  to  the  Persian  camp 
with  presents  for  the  king:  these  were,  a  bird, 
a  mouse,  a  frog,  and  five  arrows.  The  Persians 
asked  the  bearer  to  tell  them  what  these  gifts 
might  mean,  but  he  made  answer  that  he  had 
no  orders  except  to  deliver  them,  and   re- 
turn again  with  all  speed.  If  the  Persians  were 
wise,  he  added,  they  would  find  out  the  mean- 
ing for  themselves.  So  when  they  heard  this, 
they  held  a  council  to  consider  the  matter. 


126-136] 


THE  HISTORY 


147 


132.  Darius  gave  it  as  his  opinion  that  the 
Scyths  intended  a  surrender  of  themselves  and 
their  country,  both  land  and  water,  into  his 
hands.  This  he  conceived  to  be  the  meaning  of 
the  gifts,  because  the  mouse  is  an  inhabitant  of 
the  earth,  and  eats  the  same  food  as  man,  while 
the  frog  passes  his  life  in  the  water;  the  bird 
bears  a  great  resemblance  to  the  horse,  and  the 
arrows  might  signify  the  surrender  of  all  their 
power.  To  the  explanation  of  Darius,  Gobryas, 
one  of  the  seven  conspirators  against  the  Ma- 
gus, opposed  another  which  was  as  follows: — 
"Unless,  Persians,  ye  can  turn  into  birds  and 
fly  up  into  the  sky,  or  become  mice  and  bur- 
row under  the  ground,  or  make  yourselves 
frogs,  and  take  refuge  in  the  fens,  ye  will  never 
make  escape  from  this  land,  but  die  pierced  by 
our  arrows."  Such  were  the  meanings  which 
the  Persians  assigned  to  the  gifts. 

133.  The  single  division  of  the  Scyths,  which 
in  the  early  part  of  the  war  had  been  appoint- 
ed to  keep  guard  about  the  Palus  Maeotis,  and 
had  now  been  sent  to  get  speech  of  the  lonians 
stationed  at  the  Ister,   addressed   them,  on 
reaching  the  bridge,  in  these  words — "Men  of 
Ionia,  we  bring  you  freedom,  if  ye  will  only  do 
as  we  recommend.  Darius,  we  understand,  en- 
joined you  to  keep  your  guard  here  at  this 
bridge  just  sixty  days;  then,  if  he  did  not  ap- 
pear, you  were  to  return  home.  Now,  there- 
fore, act  so  as  to  be  free  from  blame,  alike  in 
his  sight,  and  in  ours.  Tarry  here  the  appointed 
time,  and  at  the  end  go  your  ways."  Having 
said  this,  and  received  a  promise  from  the 
lonians  to  do  as  they  desired,  the  Scythians 
hastened  back  with  all  possible  speed. 

134.  After  the  sending  of  the  gifts  to  Dari- 
us, the  part  of  the  Scythian  army  which  had 
not  marched  to  the  Ister,  drew  out  in  battle 
array  horse  and  foot  against  the  Persians,  and 
seemed  about  to  come  to  an  engagement.  But 
as  they  stood  in  battle  array,  it  chanced  that  a 
hare  started  up  between  them  and  the  Per- 
sians, and  set  to  running;  when  immediately 
all  the  Scyths  who  saw  it,  rushed  of!  in  pur- 
suit, with  great  confusion  and  loud  cries  and 
shouts.  Darius,  hearing  the  noise,  inquired  the 
cause  of  it,  and  was  told  that  the  Scythians 
were  all  engaged  in  hunting  a  hare.  On  this 
he  turned  to  those  with  whom  he  was  wont  to 
converse,  and  said: — "These  men  do  indeed 
despise  us  utterly:  and  now  I  see  that  Gobryas 
was  right  about  the  Scythian  gifts.  As,  there- 
fore, his  opinion  is  now  mine  likewise,  it  is 
time  we  form  some  wise  plan,  whereby  we 
may  secure  ourselves  a  safe  return  to  our 


homes."  "Ah!  sire,"  Gobryas  rejoined,  "I  was 
well  nigh  sure,  ere  I  came  here,  that  this  was 
an  impracticable  race — since  our  coming  I  am 
yet  more  convinced  of  it,  especially  now  that  I 
see  them  making  game  of  us.  My  advice  is, 
therefore,  that,  when  night  falls,  we  light  our 
fires  as  we  are  wont  to  do  at  other  times,  and 
leaving  behind  us  on  some  pretext  that  portion 
of  our  army  which  is  weak  and  unequal  to 
hardship,  taking  care  also  to  leave  our  asses 
tethered,  retreat  from  Scythia,  before  our  foes 
march  forward  to  the  Ister  and  destroy  the 
bridge,  or  the  lonians  come  to  any  resolution 
which  may  lead  to  our  ruin." 

135.  So  Gobryas  advised;  and  when  night 
came,  Darius  followed  his  counsel,  and  leaving 
his  sick  soldiers,  and  those  whose  loss  would  be 
of  least  account,  with  the  asses  also  tethered 
about  the  camp,  marched  away.  The  asses  were 
left  that  their  noise  might  be  heard:  the  men, 
really  because  they  were  sick  and  useless,  but 
under  the  pretence  that  he  was  about  to  fall 
upon  the   Scythians  with  the  flower  of  his 
troops,  and  that  they  meanwhile  were  to  guard 
his  camp  for  him.  Having  thus  declared  his 
plans  to  the  men  whom  he  was  deserting,  and 
having  caused  the  fires  to  be  lighted,  Darius  set 
forth,  and  marched  hastily  towards  the  Ister. 
The  asses,  aware  of  the  departure  of  the  host, 
brayed  louder  than  ever;  and  the  Scythians, 
hearing  the  sound,  entertained  no  doubt  of  the 
Persians  being  still  in  the  same  place. 

136.  When  day  dawned,  the  men  who  had 
been  left  behind,  perceiving  that  they  were  be- 
trayed by  Darius,  stretched  out  their  hands 
towards  the  Scythians,  and  spoke  as  befitted 
their  situation.  The  enemy  no  sooner  heard, 
than  they  quickly  joined  all  their  troops  in  one, 
and  both  portions  of  the  Scythian  army — 
alike  that  which  consisted  of  a  single  division, 
and  that  made  up  of  two — accompanied  by  all 
their  allies,  the  Sauromatae,  the  Budini,  and  the 
Geloni,  set  off  in  pursuit,  and  made  straight 
for  the  Ister.  As,  however,  the  Persian  army 
was  chiefly  foot,  and  had  no  knowledge  of  the 
routes,  which  are  not  cut  out  in  Scythia;  while 
the  Scyths  were  all  horsemen  and  well  ac- 
quainted with  the  shortest  way;  it  so  happened 
that  the  two  armies  missed  one  another,  and 
the  Scythians,  getting  far  ahead  of  their  adver- 
saries, came  first  to  the  bridge.  Finding  that  the 
Persians  were  not  yet  arrived,  they  addressed 
the  lonians,  who  were  aboard  their  ships,  in 
these  words: — "Men  of  Ionia,  the  number  of 
your  days  is  out,  and  ye  do  wrong  to  remain. 
Fear  doubtless  has  kept  you  here  hitherto: 


148 


HERODOTUS 


[BooK  iv 


now,  however,  you  may  safely  break  the  bridge, 
and  hasten  back  to  your  homes,  rejoicing  that 
you  are  free,  and  thanking  for  it  the  gods  and 
the  Scythians.  Your  former  lord  and  master 
we  undertake  so  to  handle,  that  he  will  never 
again  make  war  upon  any  one." 

137.  The  lonians  now  held  a  council.  Miltia- 
des  the  Athenian,  who  was  king  of  the  Cherso- 
nesites  upon  the  Hellespont,  and  their  com- 
mander at  the  Ister,  recommended  the  other 
generals  to  do  as  the  Scythians  wished,  and  re- 
store freedom  to  Ionia.  But  Histiaeus  the  Mile- 
sian opposed  this  advice.  "It  is  through  Dari- 
us," he  said,  "that  we  enjoy  our  thrones  in  our 
several  states.  If  his  power  be  overturned,  I 
cannot  continue  lord  of  Miletus,  nor  ye  of  your 
cities.  For  there  is  not  one  of  them  which  will 
not  prefer  democracy  to  kingly  rule."  Then  the 
other  captains,  who,  till  Histiaeus  spoke,  were 
about  to  vote  with  Miltiades,  changed  their 
minds,  and   declared   in    favour  of   the  last 
speaker. 

138.  The  following  were  the  voters  on  this 
occasion — all  of  them  men  who  stood  high  in 
the  esteem  of  the  Persian  king:  the  tyrants  of 
the  Hellespont — Daphnis  of  Abydos,  Hippoc- 
lus  of  Lampsacus,  Herophantus  of  Parium, 
Metrodorus   of  Proconnesus,   Aristagoras   of 
Cyzicus,  and  Ariston  of  Byzantium;  the  Ionian 
princes — Strattis  of  Chios,  ^Laces  of  Samos, 
Laodamas  of  Phocaea,  and  Histiaeus  of  Miletus, 
the  man  who  had  opposed  Miltiades.  Only  one 
yEolian  of  note  was  present,  to  wit,  Aristagoras 
of  Cyme. 

139.  Having  resolved  to  follow  the  advice  of 
Histiaeus,    the   Greek   leaders   further   deter- 
mined to  speak  and  act  as  follows.  In  order  to 
appear  to  the  Scythians  to  be  doing  something, 
when  in  fact  they  were  doing  nothing  of  con- 
sequence, and  likewise  to  prevent  them  from 
forcing  a  passage  across  the  Ister  by  the  bridge, 
they  resolved  to  break  up  the  part  of  the  bridge 
which  abutted  on  Scythia,  to  the  distance  of  a 
bowshot  from  the  river  bank;  and  to  assure 
the  Scythians,  while  the  demolition  was  pro- 
ceeding, that  there  was  nothing  which  they 
would  not  do  to  pleasure  them.  Such  were  the 
additions  made  to  the  resolution  of  Histiaeus; 
and  then  Histiarus  himself  stood  forth  and 
made  answer  to  the  Scyths  in  the  name  of  all 
the  Greeks: — "Good  is  the  advice  which  yc 
have  brought  us,  Scythians,  and  well  have  ye 
done  to  come  here  with  such  speed.  Your  ef- 
forts have  now  put  us  into  the  right  path;  and 
our  efforts  shall  not  be  wanting  to  advance 
your  cause.  Your  own  eyes  see  that  we  are  en- 


gaged in  breaking  the  bridge;  and,  believe  us, 
we  will  work  zealously  to  procure  our  own 
freedom.  Meantime,  while  we  labour  here  at 
our  task,  be  it  your  business  to  seek  them  out, 
and,  when  found,  for  our  sakes,  as  well  as  your 
own,  to  visit  them  with  the  vengeance  which 
they  so  well  deserve." 

140.  Again  the  Scyths  put  faith  in  the  prom- 
ises of  the  Ionian  chiefs,  and  retraced  their 
steps,  hoping  to  fall  in  with  the  Persians.  They 
missed,  however,  the  enemy's  whole  line  of 
march;  their  own  former  acts  being  to  blame 
for  it.  Had  they  not  ravaged  all  the  pasturages 
of  that  region,  and  filled  in  all  the  wells,  they 
would  have  easily  found  the  Persians  when- 
ever they  chose.  But,  as  it  turned  out,  the 
measures   which   seemed  to  them   so   wisely 
planned  were  exactly  what  caused  their  failure. 
They  took  a  route  where  water  was  to  be  found 
and  fodder  could  be  got  for  their  horses,  and 
on  this  track  sought  their  adversaries,  expect- 
ing that  they  too  would  retreat  through  regions 
where  these  things  were  to  be  obtained.  The 
Persians,  however,  kept  strictly  to  the  line  of 
their  former  march,  never  for  a  moment  de- 
parting from  it;  and  even  so  gained  the  bridge 
with  difficulty.  It  was  night  when  they  arrived, 
and  their  terror,  when  they  found  the  bridge 
broken  up,  was  great;  for  they  thought  that 
perhaps  the  lonians  had  deserted  them. 

141.  Now  there  was  in  the  army  of  Darius  a 
certain  man,  an  Egyptian,  who  had  a  louder 
voice  than  any  other  man  in  the  world.  This 
person  was  bid  by  Darius  to  stand  at  the  water's 
edge,  and  call  Histiaeus  the  Milesian.  The  fel- 
low did  as  he  was  bid;  and  Histiaeus,  hearing 
him  at  the  very  first  summons,  brought  the 
fleet  to  assist  in  conveying  the  army  across,  and 
once  more  made  good  the  bridge. 

142.  By  these  means  the  Persians  escaped 
from  Scythia,  while  the  Scyths  sought  for  them 
in  vain,  again  missing  their  track.  And  hence 
the  Scythians  are  accustomed  to  say  of  the 
lonians,  by  way  of  reproach,  that,  if  they  be 
looked  upon  as  freemen,  they  are  the  basest 
and  most  dastardly  of  all  mankind — but  if  they 
be  considered  as  under  servitude,  they  are  the 
faithfullest  of  slaves,  and  the  most  fondly  at- 
tached to  their  lords. 

143.  Darius,  having  passed  through  Thrace, 
reached  Sestos  in  the  Chersonese,  whence  he 
crossed  by  the  help  of  his  fleet  into  Asia,  leav- 
ing a  Persian,  named  Megabazus,  commander 
on  the  European  side.  This  was  the  man  on 
whom  Darius  once  conferred  special  honour 
by  a  compliment  which  he  paid  him  before  all 


137-148] 


THE  HISTORY 


149 


the  Persians.  He  was  about  to  eat  some  pome- 
granates, and  had  opened  the  first,  when  his 
brother  Artabanus  asked  him  "what  he  would 
like  to  have  in  as  great  plenty  as  the  seeds  of 
the  pomegranate?'*  Darius  answered — "Had  I 
as  many  men  like  Megabazus  as  there  are  seeds 
here,  it  would  please  me  better  than  to  be  lord 
of  Greece."  Such  was  the  compliment  where- 
with Darius  honoured  the  general  to  whom  at 
this  time  he  gave  the  command  of  the  troops 
left  in  Europe,  amounting  in  all  to  some  eighty 
thousand  men. 

144.  This  same  Megabazus  got  himself  an 
undying  remembrance  among  the  Hellespon- 
tians,  by  a  certain  speech  which  he  made.  It 
came  to  his  knowledge,  while  he  was  staying 
at  Byzantium,  that  the  Chalcedonians  made 
their  settlement  seventeen  years  earlier  than 
the  Byzantines.  "Then,"  said  he,  "the  Chalce- 
donians must  at  that  time  have  been  labour- 
ing under  blindness — otherwise,  when  so  far 
more  excellent  a  site  was  open  to  them,  they 
would  never  have  chosen  one  so  greatly  in- 
ferior."   Megabazus   now,   having   been    ap- 
pointed to  take  the  command  upon  the  Hel- 
lespont, employed  himself  in  the  reduction  of 
all  those  states  which  had  not  of  their  own  ac- 
cord joined  the  Medes. 

145.  About  this  very  time  another  great  ex- 
pedition was  undertaken  against  Libya,  on  a 
pretext  which  I  will  relate  when  I  have  prem- 
ised certain  particulars.  The  descendants  of  the 
Argonauts  in  the  third  generation,  driven  out 
of  Lemnos  by  the  Pelasgi  who  carried  off  the 
Athenian  women  from  Brauron,  took  ship  and 
went  to  Lacedaemon,  where,  seating  themselves 
on  Mount  Taygetum,  they  proceeded  to  kindle 
their  fires.  The  Lacedaemonians,  seeing  this, 
sent  a  herald  to  inquire  of  them  "who  they 
were,  and  from  what  region  they  had  come"; 
whereupon  they  made  answer,  "that  they  were 
Minyae,  sons  of  the  heroes  by  whom  the  ship 
Argo  was  manned;   for  these   persons   had 
stayed  awhile  in  Lemnos,  and  had  there  be- 
come their  progenitors."  On  hearing  this  ac- 
count of  their  descent,  the  Lacedaemonians 
sent  to  them  a  second  time,  and  asked  "what 
was  their  object  in  coming  to  Lacedaemon,  and 
there  kindling  their  fires?"  They  answered, 
"that,  driven  from  their  own  land  by  the  Pe- 
lasgi, they  had  come,  as  was  most  reasonable, 
to  their  fathers;  and  their  wish  was  to  dwell 
with  them  in  their  country,  partake  their  priv- 
ileges, and  obtain  allotments  of  land*  It  seemed 
good  to  the  Lacedaemonians  to  receive  the  Min- 
yae among  them  on  their  own  terms;  to  assign 


them  lands,  and  enrol  them  in  their  tribes. 
What  chiefly  moved  them  to  this  was  the  con- 
sideration that  the  sons  of  Tyndarus  had  sailed 
on  board  the  Argo.  The  Minyae,  on  their  part, 
forthwith  married  Spartan  wives,  and  gave  the 
wives,  whom  they  had  married  in  Lemnos,  to 
Spartan  husbands. 

146.  However,    before    much    time    had 
elapsed,  the  Minyae  began  to  wax  wanton,  de- 
manded to  share  the  throne,  and  committed 
other  impieties:  whereupon  the  Lacedaemoni- 
ans passed  on  them  sentence  of  death,  and, 
seizing  them,  cast  them  into  prison.  Now  the 
Lacedaemonians  never  put  criminals  to  death 
in  the  daytime,  but  always  at  night.  When  the 
Minyae,  accordingly,  were  about  to  suffer,  their 
wives,  who  were  not  only  citizens,  but  daugh- 
ters of  the  chief  men  among  the  Spartans,  en- 
treated to  be  allowed  to  enter  the  prison,  and 
have  some  talk  with  their  lords;  and  the  Spar- 
tans, not  expecting  any  fraud  from  such  a 
quarter,  granted  their  request.  The  women  en- 
tered the  prison,  gave  their  own  clothes  to  their 
husbands,  and  received  theirs  in  exchange:  af- 
ter which  the  Minyae,  dressed  in  their  wives' 
garments,  and  thus  passing  for  women,  went 
forth.  Having  effected  their  escape  in  this  man- 
ner, they  seated  themselves  once  more  upon 
Taygetum. 

147.  It  happened  that  at  this  very  time  Ther- 
as,  son  of  Autesion  (whose  father  Tisamenus 
was  the  son  of  Thersandcr,  and  grandson  of 
Polymces),  was  about  to  lead  out  a  colony  from 
Lacedaemon.  This  Theras,  by  birth  a  Cadmei- 
an,  was  uncle  on  the  mother's  side  to  the  two 
sons  of  Aristodemus,  Procles  and  Eurysthenes, 
and,  during  their  infancy,  administered  in 
their  right  the  royal  power.  When  his  neph- 
ews, however,  on  attaining  to  man's  estate, 
took  the  government,  Theras,  who  could  not 
bear  to  be  under  the  authority  of  others  after 
he  had  wielded  authority  so  long  himself,  re- 
solved to  leave  Sparta  and  cross  the  sea  to  join 
his  kindred.  There  were  in  the  island  now 
called  Thera,  but  at  that  time  Calliste*,  certain 
descendants  of  Membliarus,  the  son  of  Poeciles, 
a  Phoenician.  (For  Cadmus,  the  son  of  Agenor, 
when  he  was  sailing  in  search  of  Europe*,  made 
a  landing  on  this  island;  and,  either  because  the 
country  pleased  him,  or  because  he  had  a  pur- 
pose in  so  doing,  left  there  a  number  of  Phoe- 
nicians, and  with  them  his  own  kinsman  Mem- 
bliarus. Callist£  had  been  inhabited  by  this 
race  for  eight  generations  of  men,  before  the 
arrival  of  Theras  from  Lacedaemon.) 

148.  Theras  now,  having  with  him  a  certain 


150 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK  iv 


number  of  men  from  each  of  the  tribes,  was 
setting  forth  on  his  expedition  hitherward.  Far 
from  intending  to  drive  out  the  former  inhabi- 
tants, he  regarded  them  as  his  near  kin,  and 
meant  to  settle  among  them.  It  happened  that 
just  at  this  time  the  Minyae,  having  escaped 
from  their  prison,  had  taken  up  their  station 
upon  Mount  Taygetum;  and  the  Lacedaemoni- 
ans, wishing  to  destroy  them,  were  considering 
what  was  best  to  be  done,  when  Theras  begged 
their  lives,  undertaking  to  remove  them  from 
the  territory.  His  prayer  being  granted,  he  took 
ship,  and  sailed,  with  three  triaconters,  to 
join  the  descendants  of  Membliarus.  He  was 
not,  however,  accompanied  by  all  the  Minyae, 
but  only  by  some  few  of  them.  The  greater 
number  fled  to  the  land  of  the  Paroreats  and 
Caucons,  whom  they  drove  out,  themselves  oc- 
cupying the  region  in  six  bodies,  by  which 
were  afterwards  built  the  towns  of  Lepreum, 
Macistus,  Phryxae,  Pyrgus,  Epium,  and  Nudi- 
um;  whereof  the  greater  part  were  in  my  day 
demolished  by  the  Eleans. 

149.  The  island  was  called  Thera  after  the 
name  of  its  founder.  This  same  Theras  had  a 
son,  who  refused  to  cross  the  sea  with  him; 
Theras  therefore  left  him  behind,  "a  sheep," 
as  he  said,  "among  wolves."  From  this  speech 
his  son  came  to  be  called  CEolycus,  a  name 
which  afterwards  grew  to  be  the  only  one  by 
which  he  was  known.  This  CEolycus  was  the 
father  of  ^Egeus,  from  whom  sprang  the  yE- 
gidae,  a  great  tribe  in  Sparta.  The  men  of  this 
tribe  lost  at  one  time  all  their  children,  where- 
upon they  were  bidden  by  an  oracle  to  build  a 
temple  to  the  furies  of  Laius  and  GEdipus;  they 
complied,  and  the  mortality  ceased.  The  same 
thing  happened  in  Thera  to  the  descendants  of 
these  men. 

150.  Thus  far  the  history  is  delivered  with- 
out variation  both  by  the  Theraeans  and  the 
Lacedaemonians;  but  from  this  point  we  have 
only   the  Theraean    narrative.   Grinus    (they 
say),  the  son  of  /Esanius,  a  descendant  of  Ther- 
as, and  king  of  the  island  of  Thera,  went  to 
Delphi  to  offer  a  hecatomb  on  behalf  of  his  na- 
tive city.  He  was  accompanied  by  a  large  num- 
ber of  the  citizens,  and  among  the  rest  by  Bat- 
tus,  the  son  of  Polymnestus,  who  belonged  to 
the  Minyan  family  of  the  Euphemidae.  On 
Grinus  consulting  the  oracle  about  sundry  mat- 
ters, the  Pythoness  gave  him  for  answer,  "that 
he  should  found  a  city  in  Libya."  Grinus  re- 
plied to  this:  "I,  O  king!  am  too  far  advanced 
in  years,  and  too  inactive,  for  such  a  work.  Bid 
one  of  these  youngsters  undertake  it."  As  he 


spoke,  he  pointed  towards  Battus;  and  thus  the 
matter  rested  for  that  time.  When  the  embassy 
returned  to  Thera,  small  account  was  taken  of 
the  oracle  by  the  Theraeans,  as  they  were  quite 
ignorant  where  Libya  was,  and  were  not  so 
venturesome  as  to  send  out  a  colony  in  the 
dark. 

151.  Seven  years  passed  from  the  utterance 
of  the  oracle,  and  not  a  drop  of  rain  fell  in 
Thera:  all  the  trees  in  the  island,  except  one, 
were  killed  with  the  drought.  The  Theraeans 
upon  this  sent  to  Delphi,  and  were  reminded 
reproachfully  that  they  had  never  colonised 
Libya.  So,  as  there  was  no  help  for  it,  they  sent 
messengers  to  Crete,  to  inquire  whether  any  of 
the  Cretans,  or  of  the   strangers  sojourning 
among  them,  had  ever  travelled  as  far  as  Libya: 
and  these  messengers  of  theirs,  in  their  wander- 
ings about  the  island,  among  other  places  vis- 
ited Itanus,  where  they  fell  in  with  a  man, 
whose  name  was  Corobius,  a  dealer  in  purple. 
In  answer  to  their  inquiries,  he  told  them  that 
contrary  winds  had  once  carried  him  to  Libya, 
where  he  had  gone  ashore  on  a  certain  island 
which  was  named  Platea.  So  they  hired  this 
man's  services,  and  took  him  back  with  them 
to  Thera.  A  few  persons  then  sailed  from 
Thera  to  reconnoitre.  Guided  by  Corobius  to 
the  island  of  Platea,  they  left  him  there  with 
provisions  for  a  certain  number  of  months,  and 
returned  home  with  all  speed  to  give  their 
countrymen  an  account  of  the  island. 

152.  During  their  absence,  which  was  pro- 
longed beyond  the  time  that  had  been  agreed 
upon,  Corobius'  provisions  failed  him.  He  was 
relieved,  however,  after  a  while  by  a  Samian 
vessel,  under  the  command  of  a  man  named 
Colaeus,  which,  on  its  way  to  Egypt,  was  forced 
to  put  in  at  Platea.  The  crew,  informed  by 
Corobius  of  all  the  circumstances,  left  him  suf- 
ficient food  for  a  year.  They  themselves  quit- 
ted the  island;  and,  anxious  to  reach  Egypt, 
made  sail  in  that  direction,  but  were  carried 
out  of  their  course  by  a  gale  of  wind  from  the 
east.  The  storm  not  abating,  they  were  driven 
past  the  Pillars  of  Hercules,  and  at  last,  by  some 
special  guiding  providence,  reached  Tartessus. 
This  trading  town  was  in  those  days  a  virgin 
port,  unfrequented  by  the  merchants.  The 
Samians,  in  consequence,  made  by  the  return 
voyage  a  profit  greater  than  any  Greeks  before 
their  day,  excepting  Sostratus,  son  of  Laodam- 
as,  an  Eginetan,  with  whom  no  one  else  can 
compare.  From  the  tenth  part  of  their  gains, 
amounting  to  six  talents,  the  Samians  made  a 
brazen  vessel,  in  shape  like  an  Argive  wine- 


149-156] 

bowl,  adorned  with  the  heads  of  griffins  stand- 
ing out  in  high  relief.  This  bowl,  supported  by 
three  kneeling  colossal  figures  in  bronze,  of 
the  height  of  seven  cubits,  was  placed  as  an 
offering  in  the  temple  of  Juno  at  Samos.  The 
aid  given  to  Corobius  was  the  original  cause  of 
that  close  friendship  which  afterwards  united 
the  Cyrenaeans  and  Theraeans  with  the  Sami- 
ans. 

153.  The  Theraeans  who  had  left  Corobius 
at  Platea,  when  they  reached  Thera,  told  their 
countrymen  that  they  had  colonised  an  island 
on  the  coast  of  Libya.  They  of  Thera,  upon  this, 
resolved  that  men  should  be  sent  to  join  the 
colony  from  each  of  their  seven  districts,  and 
that  the  brothers  in  every  family  should  draw 
lots  to  determine  who  were  to  go.  Battus  was 
chosen  to  be  king  and  leader  of  the  colony.  So 
these  men  departed  for  Platea  on  board  of  two 
penteconters. 

154.  Such  is  the  account  which  the  Therae- 
ans  give.  In  the  sequel  of  the  history  their  ac- 
counts tally  with  those  of  the  people  of  Cy- 
rene;  but  in  what  they  relate  of  Battus  these 
two  nations  differ  most  widely.  The  following 
is  the  Cyrenaic  story.  There  was  once  a  king 
named   Etearchus,  who  ruled  over  Axus,  a 
city   in  Crete,  and   had  a  daughter  named 
Phronima.  This  girl's  mother   having  died, 
Etearchus  married  a  second  wife;  who  no  soon- 
er took  up  her  abode  in  his  house  than  she 
proved  a  true  step-mother  to  poor  Phronima, 
always  vexing  her,  and  contriving  against  her 
every  sort  of  mischief.  At  last  she  taxed  her 
with  light  conduct;  and  Etearchus,  persuaded 
by  his  wife  that  the  charge  was  true,  bethought 
himself  of  a  most  barbarous  mode  of  punish- 
ment. There  was  a  certain  Theracan,  named 
Themison,  a  merchant,  living  at  Axus.  This 
man  Etearchus  invited  to  be  his  friend  and 
guest,  and  then  induced  him  to  swear  that  he 
would  do  him  any  service  he  might  require. 
No  sooner  had  he  given  the  promise,  than  the 
king  fetched  Phronima,  and,  delivering  her 
into  his  hands,  told  him  to  carry  her  away  and 
throw  her  into  the  sea.  Hereupon  Themison, 
full  of  indignation  at  the  fraud  whereby  his 
oath  had  been  procured,  dissolved  forthwith 
the  friendship,  and,  taking  the  girl  with  him, 
sailed  away  from  Crete.  Having  reached  the 
open  main,  to  acquit  himself  of  the  obligation 
under  which  he  was  laid  by  his  oath  to  Etear- 
chus, he  fastened  ropes  about  the  damsel,  and, 
letting  her  down  into  the  sea,  drew  her  up 
again,  and  so  made  sail  for  Thera. 

155.  At  Thera,  Polymnestus,  one  of  the 


THE  HISTORY 


151 


chief  citizens  of  the  place,  took  Phronima  to  be 
his  concubine.  The  fruit  of  this  union  was  a 
son,  who  stammered  and  had  a  lisp  in  his 
speech.  According  to  the  Cyrenaeans  and  Ther- 
aeans,  the  name  given  to  the  boy  was  Battus:  in 
my  opinion,  however,  he  was  called  at  the  first 
something  else,  and  only  got  the  name  of  Bat- 
tus after  his  arrival  in  Libya,  assuming  it  either 
in  consequence  of  the  words  addressed  to  him 
by  the  Delphian  oracle,  or  on  account  of  the 
office  which  he  held.  For,  in  the  Libyan 
tongue,  the  word  "Battus"  means  "a  king." 
And  this,  I  think,  was  the  reason  why  the  Py- 
thoness addressed  him  as  she  did:  she  knew  he 
was  to  be  a  king  in  Libya,  and  so  she  used  the 
Libyan  word  in  speaking  to  him.  For  after  he 
had  grown  to  man's  estate,  he  made  a  journey 
to  Delphi,  to  consult  the  oracle  about  his  voice; 
when,  upon  his  putting  his  question,  the  Py- 
thoness thus  replied  to  him: — 

Battus,  thou  earnest  to  as^  of  thy  voice;  but  Phce- 

bus  Apollo 
Bids  thee  establish  a  city  in  Libya,  abounding  in 

fleeces; 

which  was  as  if  she  had  said  in  her  own  tongue, 
"King,  thou  earnest  to  ask  of  thy  voice."  Then 
he  replied,  "Mighty  lord,  I  did  indeed  come 
hither  to  consult  thee  about  rny  voice,  but  thou 
speakest  to  me  of  quite  other  matters,  bidding 
me  colonise  Libya — an  impossible  thing!  what 
power  have  I?  what  followers?"  Thus  he 
spake,  but  he  did  not  persuade  the  Pythoness 
to  give  him  any  other  response;  so,  when  he 
found  that  she  persisted  in  her  former  answer, 
he  left  her  speaking,  and  set  out  on  his  return 
to  Thera. 

156.  After  a  while,  everything  began  to  go 
wrong  both  with  Battus  and  with  the  rest  of 
the  Thera?ans,  whereupon  these  last,  ignorant 
of  the  cause  of  their  sufferings,  sent  to  Delphi 
to  inquire  for  what  reason  they  were  afflicted. 
The  Pythoness  in  reply  told  them  "that  if  they 
and  Battus  would  make  a  settlement  at  Cy- 
ren£  in  Libya,  things  would  go  better  with 
them."  Upon  this  the  Theraeans  sent  out  Battus 
with  two  penteconters,  and  with  these  he  pro- 
ceeded to  Libya,  but  within  a  little  time,  not 
knowing  what  else  to  do,  the  men  returned 
and  arrived  off  Thera.  The  Theraeans,  when 
they  saw  the  vessels  approaching,  received 
them  with  showers  of  missiles,  would  not  al- 
low them  to  come  near  the  shore,  and  ordered 
the  men  to  sail  back  from  whence  they  came. 
Thus  compelled  to  return,  they  settled  on  an 
island  near  the  Libyan  coast,  which  (as  I  have 
already  said)  was  called  Platea.  In  size  it  is  re- 


152 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK  rv 


ported  to  have  been  about  equal  to  the  city  of 
Gyrene,  as  it  now  stands. 

157.  In  this  place  they  continued  two  years, 
but  at  the  end  of  that  time,  as  their  ill  luck  still 
followed  them,  they  left  the  island  to  the  care 
of  one  of  their  number,  and  went  in  a  body  to 
Delphi,  where  they  made  complaint  at  the 
shrine  to  the  effect  that,  notwithstanding  they 
had  colonised  Libya,  they  prospered  as  poorly 
as  before.  Hereon  the  Pythoness  made  them 
the  following  answer: — 

Knowest  thou  better  than  I,  fair  Libya  abounding 

in  fleeces? 
Better  the  stranger  than  he  who  has  trod  it?  Ohl 

clever  Theraansl 

Battus  and  his  friends,  when  they  heard  this, 
sailed  back  to  Platea:  it  was  plain  the  god 
would  not  hold  them  acquitted  of  the  colony 
till  they  were  absolutely  in  Libya.  So,  taking 
with  them  the  man  whom  they  had  left  upon 
the  island,  they  made  a  settlement  on  the  main- 
land directly  opposite  Platea,  fixing  themselves 
at  a  place  called  Aziris,  which  is  closed  in  on 
both  sides  by  the  most  beautiful  hills,  and  on 
one  side  is  washed  by  a  river. 

158.  Here  they  remained  six  years,  at  the 
end  of  which  time  the  Libyans  induced  them 
to  move,  promising  that  they  would  lead  them 
to  a  better  situation.  So  the  Greeks  left  Aziris 
and  were  conducted  by  the  Libyans  towards 
the  west,  their  journey  being  so  arranged,  by 
the  calculation  of  thejr  guides,  that  they  passed 
in  the  night  the  most  beautiful  district  of  that 
whole  country,  which  is  the  region  called  Irasa. 
The  Libyans  brought  them  to  a  spring,  which 
goes  by  the  name  of  Apollo's  fountain,  and  told 
them — "Here,  Grecians,  is  the  proper  place  for 
you  to  settle;  for  here  the  sky  leaks." 

159.  During   the   lifetime   of    Battus,   the 
founder  of  the  colony,  who  reigned  forty  years, 
and  during  that  of  his  son  Arcesilaiis,  who 
reigned  sixteen,  the  Cyrenaeans  continued  at 
the  same  level,  neither  more  nor  fewer  in  num- 
ber than  they  were  at  the  first.  But  in  the  reign 
of  the  third  king,  Battus,  surnamed  the  Hap- 
py, the  advice  of  the  Pythoness  brought  Greeks 
from  every  quarter  into  Libya,  to  join  the  set- 
tlement. The  Cyrenaeans  had  offered  to  all 
comers  a  share  in  their  lands;  and  the  oracle 
had  spoken  as  follows: — 

He  that  is  backward  to  share  in  the  pleasant  Liby- 
an acres, 

Sooner  or  later,  I  warn  him,  will  feel  regret  at  his 
jolly. 

Thus  a  great  multitude  were  collected  together 
to  Gyrene*,  and  the  Libyans  of  the  neighbour- 


hood found  themselves  stripped  of  large  por- 
tions of  their  lands.  So  they,  and  their  king 
Adicran,  being  robbed  and  insulted  by  the  Cy- 
renaeans, sent  messengers  to  Egypt,  and  put 
themselves  under  the  rule  of  Apries,  the  Egyp- 
tian monarch;  who,  upon  this,  levied  a  vast 
army  of  Egyptians,  and  sent  them  against  Gy- 
rene*. The  inhabitants  of  that  place  left  their 
walls  and  marched  out  in  force  to  the  district 
of  Irasa,  where,  near  the  spring  called  Theste, 
they  engaged  the  Egyptian  host,  and  defeated 
it.  The  Egyptians,  who  had  never  before  made 
trial  of  the  prowess  of  the  Greeks,  and  so 
thought  but  meanly  of  them,  were  routed  with 
such  slaughter  that  but  a  very  few  of  them  ever 
got  back  home.  For  this  reason,  the  subjects  of 
Apries,  who  laid  the  blame  of  the  defeat  on 
him,  revolted  from  his  authority. 

1 60.  This  Battus  left  a  son  called  Arcesilaiis, 
who,  when  he  came  to  the  throne,  had  dissen- 
sions with  his  brothers,  which  ended  in  their 
quitting  him  and  departing  to  another  region 
of  Libya,  where,  after  consulting  among  them- 
selves, they  founded  the  city,  which  is  still 
called  by  the  name  then  given  to  it,  Barca.  At 
the  same  time  they  endeavoured  to  induce  the 
Libyans  to  revolt  from  Cyrene.  Not  long  after- 
wards Arcesilaiis  made  an  expedition  against 
the  Libyans  who  had  received  his  brothers  and 
been  prevailed  upon  to  revolt;  and  they,  fear- 
ing his  power,  fled  to  their  countrymen  who 
dwelt  towards  the  east.  Arcesilaiis  pursued, 
and  chased  them  to  a  place  called  Leucon, 
which  is  in  Libya,  where  the  Libyans  resolved 
to  risk  a  battle.  Accordingly  they  engaged  the 
Cyrenaeans,  and  defeated  them  so  entirely  that 
as  many  as  seven  thousand  of  their  heavy- 
armed  were  slain  in  the  fight.  Arcesilaiis,  after 
this  blow,  fell  sick,  and,  whilst  he  was  under 
the  influence  of  a  draught  which  he  had  taken, 
was  strangled  by  Learchus,  one  of  his  brothers. 
This  Learchus  was  afterwards  entrapped  by 
Eryxo,  the  widow  of  Arcesilaiis,  and  put  to 
death. 

161.  Battus,  Arcesilaus*  son,  succeeded  to 
the  kingdom,  a  lame  man,  who  limped  in  his 
walk.  Their  late  calamities  now  induced  the 
Cyrenzans  to  send  to  Delphi  and  inquire  of 
the  god  what  form  of  government  they  had 
best  set  up  to  secure  themselves  prosperity.  The 
Pythoness  answered  by  recommending  them  to 
fetch  an  arbitrator  from  Mantinea  in  Arcadia. 
Accordingly  they  sent;  and  the  Mantineans 
gave  them  a  man  named  Demonax,  a  person  of 
high  repute  among  the  citizens;  who,  on  his 
arrival  at  Cyre'ne',  having  first  made  himself  ac- 


I57-I66] 

quaintcd  with  all  the  circumstances,  proceed- 
ed to  enrol  the  people  in  three  tribes.  One  he 
made  to  consist  of  the  Theraeans  and  their  vas- 
sals; another  of  the  Peloponnesians  and  Cre- 
tans; and  a  third  of  the  various  islanders.  Be- 
sides this,  he  deprived  the  king  Battus  of  his 
former  privileges,  only  reserving  for  him  cer- 
tain sacred  lands  and  offices;  while,  with  re- 
spect to  the  powers  which  had  hitherto  been 
exercised  by  the  king,  he  gave  them  all  into 
the  hands  of  the  people. 

162.  Thus  matters  rested  during  the  lifetime 
of  this  Battus,  but  when  his  son  Arcesilaiis 
came  to  the  throne,  great  disturbance  arose 
about  the  privileges.  For  Arcesilaiis,  son  of  Bat/ 
tus  the  lame  and  Pheretima,  refused  to  submit 
to  the  arrangements  of  Demonax  the  Mantin- 
ean,  and  claimed  all  the  powers  of  his  fore- 
fathers. In  the  contention  which  followed  Ar- 
cesilaiis was  worsted,  whereupon  he  fled  to 
Samos,  while  his  mother  took  refuge  at  Sala- 
mis  in  the  island  of  Cyprus.  Salamis  was  at  that 
time  ruled  by  Evelthon,  the  same  who  offered 
at  Delphi  the  censer  which  is  in  the  treasury  of 
the  Corinthians,  a  work  deserving  of  admira- 
tion. Of  him  Pheretima  made  request  that  he 
would  give  her  an  army  whereby  she  and  her 
son  might  regain  Cyrene.  But  Evelthon,  pre- 
ferring to  give  her  anything  rather  than  an 
armv,  made  her  various  presents.  Pheretima 
accepted  them  all,  saying,  as  she  took  them: 
"Good  is  this  too,  O  king!  but  better  were  it 
to  give  me  the  army  which  I  crave  at  thy 
hands."  Finding  that  she  repeated  these  words 
each  time  that  he  presented  her  with  a  gift, 
Evelthon  at  last  sent  her  a  golden  spindle  and 
distaff,   with   the   wool   ready   for   spinning. 
Again  she  uttered  the  same  speech  as  before, 
whereupon  Evelthon  rejoined — 'These  are  the 
gifts  I  present  to  women,  not  armies.*' 

163.  At  Samos,  meanwhile,  Arcesilaiis  was 
collecting  troops  by  the  promise  of  granting 
them  lands.  Having  in  this  way  drawn  togeth- 
er a  vast  host,  he  sent  to  Delphi  to  consult  the 
oracle  about  his  restoration.  The  answer  of  the 
Pythoness  was  this:  "Loxias  grants  thy  race  to 
rule  over  Cyrene,  till  four  kings  Battus,  four 
Arcesilaiis  by  name,  have  passed  away.  Beyond 
this  term  of  eight  generations  of  men,  he 
warns  you  not  to  seek  to  extend  your  reign. 
Thou,  for  thy  part,  be  gentle,  when  thou  art 
restored.  If  thou  findest  the  oven  full  of  jars, 
bake  not  the  jars;  but  be  sure  to  speed  them 
on  their  way.  If,  however,  thou  heatest  the 
oven,  then  avoid  the  island — else  thou  wilt  die 
thyself,  and  with  thee  the  most  beautiful  bull." 


THE  HISTORY 


153 


164.  So   spake   the    Pythoness.   Arcesilaiis 
upon  this  returned  to  Cyrene,  taking  with  him 
the  troops  which  he  had  raised  in  Samos. 
There  he  obtained  possession  of  the  supreme 
power;  whereupon,  forgetful  of  the  oracle,  he 
took  proceedings  against  those  who  had  driven 
him  into  banishment.  Some  of  them  fled  from 
him  and  quitted  the  country  for  good;  others 
fell  into  his  hands  and  were  sent  to  suffer 
death  in  Cyprus.  These  last  happening  on  their 
passage  to  put  in  through  stress  of  weather  at 
Cnidus,  the  Cmdians  rescued  them,  and  sent 
them  off  to  Thera.  Another  body  found  a  ref- 
uge in  the  great  tower  of  Aglomachus,  a  pri- 
vate edifice,  and  were  there  destroyed  by  Ar- 
cesilaiis, who  heaped  wood  around  the  place, 
and  burnt  them  to  death.  Aware,  after  the 
deed  was  done,  that  this  was  what  the  Pytho- 
ness meant  when  she  warned  him,  if  he  found 
the  jars  in  the  oven,  not  to  bake  them,  he  with- 
drew himself  of  his  own  accord  from  the  city 
of  Gyrene*,  believing  that  to  be  the  island  of  the 
oracle,  and  fearing  to  die  as  had  been  prophe- 
sied. Being  married  to  a  relation  of  his  own,  a 
daughter  of  Alazir,  at  that  time  king  of  the 
Barcxans,  he  took  up  his  abode  with  him.  At 
Barca,  however,  certain  of  the  citizens,  togeth- 
er with  a  number  of  Cyremean  exiles,  recognis- 
ing him  as  he  walked  in  the  forum,  killed  him; 
they  slew  also  at  the  same  time  Alazir,  his 
father-in-law.  So  Arcesilaiis,  wittingly  or  un- 
wittingly, disobeyed  the  oracle,  and  thereby 
fulfilled  his  destiny. 

165.  Pheretima,  the  mother  of  Arcesilaiis, 
during  the  time  that  her  son,  after  working  his 
own  ruin,  dwelt  at  Barca,  continued  to  enjoy 
all  his  privileges  at  Gyrene*,  managing  the  gov- 
ernment, and  taking  her  seat  at  the  council 
board.  No  sooner,  however,  did  she  hear  of  the 
death  of  her  son  at  Barca,  than  leaving  Cyren£, 
she  fled  in  haste  to  Egypt.   Arcesilaiis  had 
claims  for  service  done  to  Cambyses,  son  of 
Cyrus;  since  it  was  by  him  that  Cyren£  was 
put  under  the  Persian  yoke,  and  a  rate  of 
tribute  agreed  upon.  Pheretima  therefore  went 
straight  to  Egypt,  and  presenting  herself  as  a 
suppliant  before  Aryandes,  entreated  him  to 
avenge  her  wrongs.  Her  son,  she  said,  had  met 
his  death  on  account  of  his  being  so  well  af- 
fected towards  the  Medes. 

1 66.  Now  Aryandes  had  been  made  gover- 
nor of  Egypt  by  Cambyses.  He  it  was  who  in 
after  times  was  punished  with  death  by  Darius 
for  seeking  to  rival  him.  Aware,  by  report  and 
also  by  his  own  eyesight,  that  Darius  wished 
to  leave  a  memorial  of  himself,  such  as  no  king 


154 


HERODOTUS 


[  BOOR  iv 


had  ever  left  before,  Aryandes  resolved  to  fol- 
low his  example,  and  did  so,  till  he  got  his  re- 
ward. Darius  had  refined  gold  to  the  last  per- 
fection of  purity  in  order  to  have  coins  struck 
of  it:  Aryandes,  in  his  Egyptian  government, 
did  the  very  same  with  silver,  so  that  to  this 
day  there  is  no  such  pure  silver  anywhere  as 
the  Aryandic.  Darius,  when  this  came  to  his 
ears,  brought  another  charge,  a  charge  of  re- 
bellion, against  Aryandes,  and  put  him  to 
death. 

167.  At  the  time  of  which  we  are  speaking 
Aryandes,  moved  with  compassion  for  Phere- 
tima,  granted  her  all  the  forces  which  there 
were  in  Egypt,  both  land  and  sea.  The  com- 
mand of  the  army  he  gave  to  Amasis,  a  Mara- 
phian;  while  Badres,  one  of  the  tribe  of  the 
Pasa&gadae,  was  appointed  to  lead  the  fleet.  Be- 
fore the  expedition,  however,  left  Egypt,  he 
sent  a  herald  to  Barca  to  inquire  who  it  was 
that  had  slain  king  Arcesilaiis.  The  Barcaeans 
replied  "that  they,  one  and  all,  acknowledged 
the  deed — Arcesilaiis  had  done  them  many  and 
great  injuries."  After  receiving  this  reply,  Ary- 
andes gave  the  troops  orders  to  march  with 
Pheretima.  Such  was  the  cause  which  served 
as  a  pretext  for  this  expedition:  its  real  object 
was,  I  believe,  the  subjugation  of  Libya.  For 
Libya  is  inhabited  by  many  and  various  races, 
and  of  these  but  a  very  few  were  subjects  of  the 
Persian  king,  while  by  far  the  larger  number 
held  Darius  in  no  manner  of  respect. 

1 68.  The  Libyans  dwell  in  the  order  which 
I  will  now  describe.  Beginning  on  the  side  of 
Egypt,  the  first  Libyans  are  the  Adyrmachidae. 
These  people  have,  in  most  points,  the  same 
customs  as  the  Egyptians,  but  use  the  costume 
of  the  Libyans.  Their  women  wear  on  each  leg 
a  ring  made  of  bronze;  they  let  their  hair  grow 
long,  and  when  they  catch  any  vermin  on  their 
persons,  bite  it  and  throw  it  away.  In  this  they 
differ  from  all  the  other  Libyans.  They  are  also 
the  only  tribe  with  whom  the  custom  obtains 
of  bringing  all  women  about  to  become  brides 
before  the  king,  that  he  may  choose  such  as  are 
agreeable  to  him.  The  Adyrmachidae  extend 
from  the  borders  of  Egypt  to  the  harbour  called 
Port  Plynus. 

169.  Next  to  the  Adyrmachidae  are  the  Gilli- 
gamma?,  who  inhabit  the  country  westward  as 
far  as  the  island  of  Aphrodisias.  Off  this  tract 
is  the  island  of  Platea,  which  the  Cyrenseans 
colonised.  Here  too,  upon  the  mainland,  are 
Port  Menelaiis,  and  Aziris,  where  the  Cyrenae- 
ans  once  lived.  The  Silphium  begins  to  grow 
in  this  region,  extending  from  the  island  of 


Platea  on  the  one  side  to  the  mouth  of  the  Syr- 
tis  on  the  other.  The  customs  of  the  Gilligam- 
mae  are  like  those  of  the  rest  of  their  country- 
men. 

170.  The  Asbystae  adjoin  the  Gilligammae 
upon  the  west.  They  inhabit  the  regions  above 
Cyren£,  but  do  not  reach  to  the  coast,  which  be- 
longs to  the  Cyrenaeans.  Four-horse  chariots 
are  in  more  common  use  among  them  than 
among  any  other  Libyans.  In  most  of  their  cus- 
toms they  ape  the  manners  of  the  Cyrenaeans. 

171.  Westward  of  the  Asbystae  dwell  the 
Auschisae,  who  possess  the  country  above  Bar- 
ca, reaching,  however,  to  the  sea  at  the  place 
called  Euesperides.  In  the  middle  of  their  ter- 
ritory is  the  little  tribe  of  the  Cabalians,  which 
touches  the  coast  near  Tauchira,  a  city  of  the 
Barcaeans.  Their  customs  are  like  those  of  the 
Libyans  above  Gyrene*. 

172.  The  Nasamonians,  a  numerous  people, 
are  the  western  neighbours  of  the  Auschisae.  In 
summer  they  leave  their  flocks  and  herds  upon 
the  sea-shore,  and  go  up  the  country  to  a  place 
called  Augila,  where  they  gather  the  dates 
from  the  palms,  which  in  those  parts  grow 
thickly,  and  are  of  great  size,  all  of  them  being 
of  the  fruit-bearing  kind.  They  also  chase  the 
locusts,  and,  when  caught,  dry  them  in  the  sun, 
after  which  they  grind  them  to  powder,  and, 
sprinkling  this  upon  their  milk,  so  drink  it. 
Each  man  among  them  has  several  wives,  in 
their  intercourse  with  whom  they  resemble  the 
Massagetae.  The  following  are  their  customs  in 
the  swearing  of  oaths  and  the  practice  of  aug- 
ury. The  man,  as  he  swears,  lays  his  hand  upon 
the  tomb  of  some  one  considered  to  have  been 
pre-eminently  just  and  good,  and  so  doing 
swears  by  his  name.  For  divination  they  be- 
take themselves  to  the  sepulchres  of  their  own 
ancestors,  and,  after  praying,  lie  down  to  sleep 
upon  their  graves;  by  the  dreams  which  then 
come  to  them  they  guide  their  conduct.  When 
they  pledge  their  faith  to  one  another,  each 
gives  the  other  to  drink  out  of  his  hand;  if 
there  be  no  liquid  to  be  had,  they  take  up  dust 
from  the  ground,  and  put  their  tongues  to  it. 

173.  On  the  country  of  the  Nasamonians 
borders  that  of  the  Psylli,  who  were  swept 
away  under  the  following  circumstances.  The 
south-wind  had  blown  for  a  long  time  and 
dried  up  all  the  tanks  in  which  their  water  was 
stored.  Now  the  whole  region  within  the  Syr- 
tis  is  utterly  devoid  of  springs.  Accordingly  the 
Psylli  took  counsel  among  themselves,  and  by 
common  consent  made  war  upon  the  south- 
wind — so  at  least  the  Libyans  say,  I  do  but  re- 


167-180] 

peat  their  words — they  went  forth  and  reached 
the  desert;  but  there  the  south-wind  rose  and 
buried  them  under  heaps  of  sand:  whereupon, 
the  Psylli  being  destroyed,  their  lands  passed 
to  the  Nasamonians. 

174.  Above  the  Nasamonians,  towards  the 
south,  in  the  district  where  the  wild  beasts 
abound,  dwell  the  Garamantians,  who  avoid 
all  society  or  intercourse  with  their  fellow- 
men,  have  no  weapon  of  war,  and  do  not  know 
how  to  defend  themselves. 

175.  These  border  the  Nasamonians  on  the 
south:   westward   along   the   sea-shore  their 
neighbours  are  the  Macae,  who,  by  letting  the 
locks  about  the  crown  of  their  head  grow  long, 
while  they  clip  them  close  everywhere  else, 
make  their  hair  resemble  a  crest.  In  war  these 
people  use  the  skins  of  ostriches  for  shields. 
The  river  Cinyps  rises  among  them  from  the 
height  called  "the  Hill  of  the  Graces,"  and 
runs  from  thence  through  their  country  to  the 
sea.  The  Hill  of  the  Graces  is  thickly  covered 
with  wood,  and  is  thus  very  unlike  the  rest  of 
Libya,  which  is  bare.  It  is  distant  two  hundred 
furlongs  from  the  sea. 

176.  Adjoining  the  Macae  are  the  Gindanes, 
whose  women  wear  on  their  legs  anklets  of 
leather.  Each  lover  that  a  woman  has  gives  her 
one;  and  she  who  can  show  the  most  is  the  best 
esteemed,  as  she  appears  to  have  been  loved  by 
the  greatest  number  of  men. 

177.  A  promontory  jutting  out  into  the  sea 
from  the  country  of  the  Gindanes  is  inhabited 
by  the  Lotophagi,  who  live  entirely  on  the 
fruit  of  the  lotus-tree.  The  lotus  fruit  is  about 
the  size  of  the  lentisk  berry,  and  in  sweetness 
resembles  the  date.  The  Lotophagi  even  suc- 
ceed in  obtaining  from  it  a  sort  of  wine. 

178.  The  sea-coast  beyond  the  Lotophagi  is 
occupied  by  the  Machlyans,  who  use  the  lotus 
to  some  extent,  though  not  so  much  as  the  peo- 
ple of  whom  we  last  spoke.  The  Machlyans 
reach  as  far  as  the  great  river  called  the  Triton, 
which  empties  itself  into  the  great  lake  Tri- 
tonis. Here,  in  this  lake,  is  an  island  called 
Phla,  which  it  is  said  the  Lacedaemonians  were 
to  have  colonised,  according  to  an  oracle. 

179.  The  following  is  the  story  as  it  is  com- 
monly told.  When  Jason  had  finished  building 
the  Argo  at  the  foot  of  Mount  Pelion,  he  took 
on  board  the  usual  hecatomb,  and  moreover  a 
brazen  tripod.  Thus  equipped,  he  set  sail,  in- 
tending to  coast  round  the  Peloponnese,  and 
so  to  reach  Delphi.  The  voyage  was  prosperous 
as  far  as  Malea;  but  at  that  point  a  gale  of  wind 
from  the  north  came  on  suddenly,  and  carried 


THE  HISTORY 


155 


him  out  of  his  course  to  the  coast  of  Libya; 
where,  before  he  discovered  the  land,  he  got 
among  the  shallows  of  Lake  Tritonis.  As  he 
was  turning  it  in  his  mind  how  he  should  find 
his  way  out,  Triton  (they  say)  appeared  to 
him,  and  offered  to  show  him  the  channel,  and 
secure  him  a  safe  retreat,  if  he  would  give  him 
the  tripod.  Jason  complying,  was  shown  by 
Triton  the  passage  through  the  shallows;  after 
which  the  god  took  the  tripod,  and,  carrying 
it  to  his  own  temple,  seated  himself  upon  it, 
and,  filled  with  prophetic  fury,  delivered  to 
Jason  and  his  companions  a  long  prediction. 
"When  a  descendant,"  he  said,  "of  one  of  the 
Argo's  crew  should  seize  and  carry  off  the 
brazen  tripod,  then  by  inevitable  fate  would  a 
hundred  Grecian  cities  be  built  around  Lake 
Tritonis."  The  Libyans  of  that  region,  when 
they  heard  the  words  of  this  prophecy,  took 
away  the  tripod  and  hid  it. 

1 80.  The  next  tribe  beyond  the  Machlyans 
is  the  tribe  of  the  Auseans.  Both  these  nations 
inhabit  the  borders  of  Lake  Tritonis,  being  sep- 
arated from  one  another  by  the  river  Triton. 
Both  also  wear  their  hair  long,  but  the  Mach- 
lyans let  it  grow  at  the  back  of  the  head,  while 
the  Auseans  have  it  long  in  front.  The  Ausean 
maidens  keep  year  by  year  a  feast  in  honour  of 
Minerva,  whereat  their  custom  is  to  draw  up 
in  two  bodies,  and  fight  with  stones  and  clubs. 
They  say  that  these  are  rites  which  have  come 
down  to  them  from  their  fathers,  and  that  they 
honour  with  them  their  native  goddess,  who  is 
the  same  as  the  Minerva  (Athene*)  of  the  Gre- 
cians. If  any  of  the  maidens  die  of  the  wounds 
they  receive,  the  Auseans  declare  that  such  are 
false  maidens.  Before  the  fight  is  suffered  to  be- 
gin, they  have  another  ceremony.  One  of  the 
virgins,  the  loveliest  of  the  number,  is  selected 
from  the  rest;  a  Corinthian  helmet  and  a  com- 
plete suit  of  Greek  armour  are  publicly  put 
upon  her;  and,  thus  adorned,  she  is  made  to 
mount  into  a  chariot,  and  led  around  the  whole 
lake  in  a  procession.  What  arms  they  used  for 
the  adornment  of  their  damsels  before  the 
Greeks  came  to  live  in  their  country,  I  cannot 
say.  I  imagine  they  dressed  them  in  Egyptian 
armour,  for  I  maintain  that  both  the  shield  and 
the  helmet  came  into  Greece  from  Egypt.  The 
Auseans  declare  that  Minerva  is  the  daughter 
of  Neptune  and  the  Lake  Tritonis — they  say 
she  quarrelled  with  her  father,  and  applied  to 
Jupiter,  who  consented  to  let  her  be  his  child; 
and  so  she  became  his  adopted  daughter. 
These  people  do  not  marry  or  live  in  families, 
but  dwell  together  like  the  gregarious  beasts. 


156 


HERODOTUS 


[BOOK  iv 


When  their  children  are  full-grown,  they  arc 
brought  before  the  assembly  of  the  men,  which 
is  held  every  third  month,  and  assigned  to 
those  whom  they  most  resemble. 

1 8 r.  Such  are  the  tribes  of  wandering  Liby- 
ans dwelling  upon  the  sea-coast.  Above  them 
inland  is  the  wild-beast  tract:  and  beyond  that,  a 
ridge  of  sand,  reaching  from  Egyptian  Thebes 
to  the  Pillars  of  Hercules.  Throughout  this 
ridge,  at  the  distance  of  about  ten  days'  journey 
from  one  another,  heaps  of  salt  in  large  lumps 
lie  upon  hills.  At  the  top  of  every  hill  there 
gushes  forth  from  the  middle  of  the  salt  a 
stream  of  water,  which  is  both  cold  and  sweet. 
Around  dwell  men  who  are  the  last  inhabi- 
tants of  Libya  on  the  side  of  the  desert,  living, 
as  they  do,  more  inland  than  the  wild-beast  dis- 
trict. Of  these  nations  the  first  is  that  of  the 
Ammomans,  who  dwell  at  a  distance  of  ten 
days'  journey  from  Thebes,  and  have  a  temple 
derived  from  that  of  the  Theban  Jupiter.  For 
at  Thebes  likewise,  as  I  mentioned  above,  the 
image  of  Jupiter  has  a  face  like  that  of  a  ram. 
The  Ammonians  have  another  spring  besides 
that  which  rises  from  the  salt.  The  water  of 
this  stream  is  lukewarm  at  early  dawn;  at  the 
time  when  the  market  fills  it  is  much  cooler; 
by  noon  it  has  grown  quite  cold;  at  this  time, 
therefore,  they  water  their  gardens.  As  the  af- 
ternoon advances  the  coldness  goes  off,  till, 
about  sunset,  the  water  is  once  more  luke- 
warm; still  the  heat  increases,  and  at  midnight 
it  boils  furiously.  After  this  time  it  again  begins 
to  cool,  and  grows  less  and  less  hot  till  morn- 
ing comes.  This  spring  is  called  "the  Fountain 
of  the  Sun." 

182.  Next  to  the  Ammonians,  at  the  dis- 
tance of  ten  days'  journey  along  the  ridge  of 
sand,  there  is  a  second  salt-hill  like  the  Am- 
monian,  and  a  second  spring.  The  country 
round  is  inhabited,  and  the  place  bears  the 
name  of  Augila.  Hither  it  is  that  the  Nasa- 
monians  come  to  gather  in  the  dates. 

183.  Ten  days'  journey  from  Augila  there 
is  again  a  salt-hill  and  a  spring;  palms  of  the 
fruitful  kind  grow  here  abundantly,  as  they  do 
also  at  the  other  salt-hills.  This  region  is  in- 
habited by  a  nation  called  the  Garamantians,  a 
very  powerful  people,  who  cover  the  salt  with 
mould,  and  then  sow  their  crops.  From  thence 
is  the  shortest  road  to  the  Lotophagi,  a  journey 
of  thirty  days.  In  the  Garamantian  country 
are  found  the  oxen  which,  as  they  graze,  walk 
backwards.  This  they  do  because  their  horns 
curve  outwards  in  front  of  their  heads,  so  that 
it  is  not  possible  for  them  when  grazing  to 


move  forwards,  since  in  that  case  their  horns 
would  become  fixed  in  the  ground.  Only  here- 
in do  they  differ  from  other  oxen,  and  further 
in  the  thickness  and  hardness  of  their  hides. 
The  Garamantians  have  four-horse  chariots,  in 
which  they  chase  the  Troglodyte  Ethiopians, 
who  of  all  the  nations  whereof  any  account  has 
reached  our  ears  are  by  far  the  swiftest  of  foot. 
The  Troglodytes  feed  on  serpents,  lizards,  and 
other  similar  reptiles.  Their  language  is  unlike 
that  of  any  other  people;  it  sounds  like  the 
screeching  of  bats. 

184.  At  the  distance  of  ten  days'  journey 
from  the  Garamantians  there  is  again  another 
salt-hill  and  spring  of  water;  around  which 
dwell  a  people,  called  the  Atarantians,  who 
alone  of  all  known  nations  are  destitute  of 
names.  The  title  of  Atarantians  is  borne  by  the 
whole  race  in  common;  but  the  men  have  no 
particular  names  of  their  own.  The  Ataran- 
tians, when  the  sun  rises  high  in  the  heaven, 
curse  him,  and  load  him  with  reproaches,  be- 
cause (they  say)  he  burns  and  wastes  both 
their  country  and  themselves.  Once  more  at  the 
distance  of  ten  days'  journey  there  is  a  salt-hill, 
a  spring,  and  an  inhabited  tract.  Near  the  salt 
is  a  mountain  called  Atlas,  very  taper  and 
round;  so  lofty,  moreover,  that  the  top  (it  is 
said)  cannot  be  seen,  the  clouds  never  quitting 
it  either  summer  or  winter.  The  natives  call 
this  mountain  "the  Pillar  of  Heaven";  and  they 
themselves   take   their  name  from  it,  being 
called  Atlantes.  They  are  reported  not  to  eat  any 
living  thing,  and  never  .to  have  any  dreams. 

185.  As  far  as  the  Atlantes  the  names  of 
the  nations  inhabiting   the  sandy  ridge  are 
known  to  me;  but  beyond  them  my  knowledge 
fails.  The  ridge  itself  extends  as  far  as  the  Pil- 
lars of  Hercules,  and  even  further  than  these; 
and  throughout  the  whole  distance,  at  the  end 
of  every  ten  days'  journey,  there  is  a  salt-mine, 
with  people  dwelling  round  it  who  all  of  them 
build  their  houses  with  blocks  of  the  salt.  No 
rain  falls  in  these  parts  of  Libya;  if  it  were  oth- 
erwise, the  walls  of  these  houses  could  not 
stand.  The  salt  quarried  is  of  two  colours, 
white  and  purple.  Beyond  the  ridge,  south- 
wards, in  the  direction  of  the  interior,  the 
country  is  a  desert,  with  no  springs,  no  beasts, 
no  rain,  no  wood,  and  altogether  destitute  of 
moisture. 

1 86.  Thus  from  Egypt  as  far  as  Lake  Tri- 
tonis  Libya  is  inhabited  by  wandering  tribes, 
whose  drink  is  milk  and  their  food  the  flesh  of 
animals.  Cow's  flesh,  however,  none  of  these 
tribes  ever  taste,  but  abstain  from  it  for  the 


181-192]  THE  HISTORY 

same  reason  as  the  Egyptians,  neither  do  they 
any  of  them  breed  swine.  Even  at  Gyrene*,  the 
women  think  it  wrong  to  eat  the  flesh  of  the 
cow,  honouring  in  this  Isis,  the  Egyptian  god- 
dess, whom  they  worship  both  with  fasts  and 
festivals.  The  Barcaean  women  abstain,  not  from 
cow's  flesh  only,  but  also  from  the  flesh  of  swine. 

187.  West  of  Lake  Trit6nis  the  Libyans  are 
no  longer  wanderers,  nor  do  they  practise  the 
same  customs  as  the  wandering  people,  or  treat 
their  children  in  the  same  way.  For  the  wan- 
dering Libyans,  many  of  them  at  any  rate,  if 
not  all — concerning  which  I  cannot  speak  with 
certainty — when  their  children   come  to  the 
age  of  four  years,  burn  the  veins  at  the  top  of 
their  heads  with  a  flock  from  the  fleece  of  a 
sheep:  others  burn  the  veins  about  the  temples. 
This  they  do  to  prevent  them   from  being 
plagued  in  their  after  lives  by  a  flow  of  rheum 
from  the  head;  and  such  they  declare  is  the 
reason  why  they  are  so  much  more  healthy 
than  other  men.  Certainly  the  Libyans  are  the 
healthiest  men  that  I  know;  but  whether  this  is 
what  makes  them  so,  or  not,  I  cannot  positive- 
ly say — the   healthiest  certainly  they  are.  If 
when  the  children  are  being  burnt  convulsions 
come  on,  there  is  a  remedy  of  which  they  have 
made  discovery.  It  is  to  sprinkle  goat's  water 
upon  the  child,  who  thus  treated,  is  sure  to  re- 
cover. In  all  this  I  only  repeat  what  is  said  by 
the  Libyans. 

1 88.  The  rites  which  the  wandering  Liby- 
ans use  in  sacrificing  are  the  following.  They 
begin  with  the  ear  of  the  victim,  which  they 
cut  off  and  throw  over  their  house:  this  done, 
they  kill  the  animal  by  twisting  the  neck.  They 
sacrifice  to  the  Sun  and  Moon,  but  not  to  any 
other  god.  This  worship  is  common  to  all  the 
Libyans.  The  inhabitants  of  the  parts  about 
Lake   Tritonis   worship  in   addition   Triton, 
Neptune,  and  Minerva,  the  last  especially. 

189.  The  dress  wherewith  Minerva's  stat- 
ues are  adorned,  and  her  JEgis,  were  derived 
by  the  Greeks  from  the  women  of  Libya.  For, 
except  that  the  garments  of  the  Libyan  women 
are  of  leather,  and  their  fringes  made  of  leath- 
ern thongs  instead  of  serpents,  in  all  else  the 
dress  of  both  is  exactly  alike.  The  name  too  it- 
self shows  that  the  mode  of  dressing  the  Pallas- 
statues  came  from  Libya.  For  the  Libyan  wom- 
en wear  over  their  dress  goat-skins  stript  of 
the  hair,  fringed  at  their  edges,  and  coloured 
with  vermilion;  and  from  these  goat-skins  the 
Greeks  get  their  word  ^Egis  (goat-harness).  I 
think  for  my  part  that  the  loud  cries  uttered  in 
our  sacred  rites  came  also  from  thence;  for  the 


157 


Libyan  women  are  greatly  given  to  such  cries 
and  utter  them  very  sweetly.  Likewise  the 
Greeks  learnt  from  the  Libyans  to  yoke  four 
horses  to  a  chariot. 

190.  All  the  wandering  tribes  bury  their 
dead  according  to  the  fashion  of  the  Greeks,  ex- 
cept the  Nasamonians.  They  bury  them  sitting, 
and  are  right  careful  when  the  sick  man  is  at 
the  point  of  giving  up  the  ghost,  to  make  him 
sit  and  not  let  him  die  lying  down